Archive | October, 2012

SpOOoooOOOoooOOOOky!

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.

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17 Days ’til the Next One…

18 Oct

Oh, hey!

Hard to believe I’m going to be running another marathon in less than 3 weeks, but the number of runners I have seen in the park lately and the statuses in my Facebook and Twitter feeds tell me that it’s that time again.

A few things to say….

1)   Follow-up to last week’s post:

I was incorrect when I said in my last post that I run on the upper level of the Queensborough Bridge.  I’m dumb.  I don’t think you can do that, unless you want to be dodging traffic and taking your life in your hands.  It just feels different from the marathon because in the marathon, you’re actually running on the road.  Not the pedestrian path.  Duhr.  Also, I still find the runners and cyclists not using the correct lanes to be annoying as hell, but I will concede that there are some portions of the path that are not well-marked at all and I admit that it does not feel natural to be traveling on the left side of any two-lane route.

This is what appears quite a few times on the side closer to Queens

Yes, I took this picture while running and yes, I am slightly obsessed.

I wish it did more as you get closer to Manhattan.  It is really seriously dangerous.  Just this morning, I had some speedy cyclists coming at me in my lane, and I was scared.

2)  Traveling:

I went to Chicago this past weekend to visit my dear friend Jennifer.  We’ve been friends since we were 9 and have run 3 marathons together– the Flying Pig twice and NYC once.  Now, that is friendship!

NYC 2010

Jennifer just had adorable Baby Mason in March and is already back to being svelte.  AND she was game to come to Flywheel with me, which was a lot of fun!  Flywheel Chicago is… pretty much the same as Flywheel NYC, but it was fun going to a different studio.  And Jennifer loved it!  (Hi Flywheel, I have taken no less than 5 friends with me to your classes, several of whom have become devoted regulars, and I think you should hire me as an instructor, or at least give me some sort of benefit for being an ambassador, thaaaaanks. ;))

Anyway, I went for a little run along the path on the lake on Sunday and it was pleasant, considering about 3 miles in, it started pouring and I finished out the run drenched.

3)  Beer

Is awesome.  Recently, I’ve been indulging in some nice pumpkin beers, in honor of my favorite season.  T snagged this one for me, which was exciting because I’d never seen it before.  I really love Ithaca Brewing Company’s Flower Power and it turns out they make a solid pumpkin ale as well.

Other recent indulgences have been Captain Lawrence’s Pumpkin Ale and Bell’s Oktoberfest.  I LOVE Bell’s Two-Hearted, but don’t generally care for Oktoberfests, so I was pleasantly surprised with how delicious this was!  I currently have a 6-pack of Abita Pecan Harvest ale chilling in my fridge and I’m super excited to give it a taste.

3)  Fitness

So… 2 weeks ago, my mileage was a grand total of, uh, 15.5 miles + one 45-minute Flywheel class.  Oops?  Well, in my defense, my mom was in town for a week and I much preferred to hang out with her and see the NYC Ballet, Philadanco, and Bring it On on Broadway.  We also ate at 16 Handles no less than 3 times.

I intended to do a long run on that Thursday morning and even had a date with Ali in which I was to escort her over the Queensborough Bridge.  But upon waking up at my mom’s place on the UES and getting ready, I discovered that I had forgotten to bring the oh-so-crucial sports bra.  BLARGH.  So I did what any good friend would do and ran to our pre-arranged CP meeting spot whilst clutching my bosom with one arm, and told Ali that I would be unable to join her.  I then took the train home to Queens where I gathered up my sports bra, put it on… and ran a grand total of 4.5 miles before calling it quits in order to hang out with Mom.

The following week, (last week) I stepped it up a bit for a grand total of 41.5 miles and two 45-minute Flywheel classes.  That’s more like it!  I even got up at the crack of dawn on Thursday and ran 15.5 miles before work.

This week I’ve run 25 miles thus far (including 12 this morning before work) and done one 45-minute Flywheel class…

4)  Fatness

I ate this today and it changed my life.  For real.

Also, did you know that McDonald’s has a pumpkin shake?  I discovered this while at O’Hare on Sunday.  Since it has a grand total of 670 calories, I went with the healthy choice and got an Oreo McFlurry instead.

5)  Politics

Blah.  I will be so glad when election day is over and the man is still in office.  (Please.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.)  In general, I am so very loath to get political  in real life or on the Internets, so I’m just gonna say that this girl does not want to live in a county where our president doesn’t think gay people should be able to get married, wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, and, to grossly over-simplify, has a general attitude of “If you’re rich, rawk on!  If you’re not, tough titties!”

LOL… but not really….

Plus, more germane to the topic of this blog, Paul Ryan lied about his marathon time.  I mean, IS NOTHING SACRED???

Anyway… I’m off to Flywheel.  Peace!

Quick Vent

2 Oct

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people either choose to disregard or simply don’t pay attention to the space they are occupying and whether or not it makes sense for them to be there.  THIS MEANS YOU, group of people standing in the middle of a crowded and busy NYC sidewalk.  ALSO YOU, person coming down the up subway staircase, against the flow of foot traffic.  But most of all, and specifically in this post, I mean bikers in the pedestrian lane and pedestrians in the bike lane.

I run over the Queensboro Bridge a few times a week — the upper level (the lower level is the one incorporated in the NYCM, for the record.)  For those of you (most of you, I presume) who have never run over the upper level, there are CLEARLY MARKED lanes.  The lane closest to the water is for pedestrians.  The one closest to the traffic is for bikes.  Here, I’ll show you how clearly marked they are.

taken from Gothamist

I think you can see that there are pictures of BIKES in the left lane and pictures of PEDESTRIANS in the right lane.  This is pretty clear, no?

Nearly every time I’ve run over the bridge, I’ve seen cyclists in the pedestrian lane.  I almost always stand my ground, and they go around me.  There was one time where a cyclist was approaching me in the pedestrian lane, yelling at me as though I was in the wrong, and we had a brief, profanity-infused verbal altercation as we passed one another.  Thus, I’ve had some animosity toward cyclists on the bridge.

This morning, however, I was more than a little dismayed by some fellow runners.  As I approached the bridge on the Queens side, I noticed a running group gathered at the entrance.  Soon thereafter, a few of them passed me.  Fine.  As I continued toward the Manhattan side, the ones who had gotten to the other side already and had turned around were running back IN THE CYCLISTS’ lane.  I got to the Manhattan side and turned around to run back and as I did so, I passed more and more runners in the cyclists’ lane.  I kept thinking about how dangerous they were making it not only for themselves, but for me– since the cyclists had to veer into my lane in order to go around them.

I really don’t get what is so hard about this.  F*cking pay attention to where you’re supposed to be!  I really wanted to say to someone from the group “Not to be a jerk, but do you realize that every single one of you is running in the cyclists’ lane?”  However, I am a wuss.

Maybe next time.

Oh, and here is the link to the article on Gothamist where I got the pic.  The article — and you’ll obviously see this if you click — is about a pedestrian being struck by a cyclist on the bridge…