Tag Archives: Boilermaker

Remaining Optimistic and Yet Realistic

12 Jul

On Sunday, I ran one of my favorite races, the Boilermaker.

I ran it last year for the first time, and had a blast.  T’s best friend, Steve, is from Utica, so we stayed with his parents and were spoiled rotten for a weekend.  (Holla to Mrs. G’s brownies!)

Us last year at the post-race party

Well, we did we the exact same thing this year:  Friday after work T, Steve, his wife Danielle, and I hopped in a rental car and drove the 4.5-ish hours to Utica.  Upon arrival at the G’s home, we proceeded to pig out on the aforementioned brownies and “tomato pie“, (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried this Utica special.  It’s delicious!) and guzzle a bunch of Saranac.

Saturday involved T, Steve, and Steve’s brothers playing golf while Danielle and I sipped wine on the patio at the club overlooking the green.  (That may be the most obnoxious and WASPy thing I’ve ever typed.)  Then we headed back to the G’s, where Mrs. G had prepared a feast of pasta that we housed before turning in relatively early.

I may be a fool, but I didn’t have nearly as much trepidation for this race as I should have.  In the 5 weeks that preceded it, I ran one 4.5 miler.  This was in prep for a freaking 15K that is hilly as f**k.  Not very smart.  The one smart thing I *did* do was pay a visit to my PT, Aaron, on Thursday.  I had him massage and stretch me out in advance of the race.  My feelings when I woke up Sunday morning didn’t get much deeper than, “Yippee, I get to run today!!!  I’m really out of shape.  This should be funny!”

Honestly, my one wish was that my foot wouldn’t hurt.  I knew that I was going to feel tired and out of shape, but I could deal with that.  What would be a crushing blow would be having the PF come back flaring like the little b*tch that it is.

As Danielle and I hung out in our corral waiting for the gun, I thought about how much I’ve changed as a runner.  For years, I would be waiting in corrals thinking, “La la la, I’m going for a run!  NBD!”  It wasn’t until my 7th marathon, the 2010 Flying Pig, that I ran my slowest marathon and I asked myself why I wasn’t trying to get any better.  Since then, I’ve become more and more aware of my pace, and intent upon improving.  My running has become a bit more purposeful, as I’ve incorporated things like speed work and tempo runs.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to the hobby jogger I was before.  I should clarify, in no way am I kidding myself.  I am certainly still a hobby jogger.  I fully realize I am a very mediocre runner.  There is no delusion going on here.  What I mean is that I don’t see myself ever again being the lackadaisical racer that I was.  There are good and bad sides to that, I guess.

That finish time was 4:41:55. Yeesh. I made, like, 3 bathroom stops, too.  Love how I still look all victorious and sh*t.

Sooo…back to the Boilermaker:  the gun went off and off we went.  I pressed START on my Garmin and the f*cker did not respond.  Looks like I’ll be buying another one of those bad boys.  I’m actually glad it wasn’t working, however, (not glad I have to buy a new one) because it kept me from obsessing over my splits, which I know I would have done.  I just ran.  What a novel concept.

I lost Danielle around mile 3 and watched her fade into the distance, up the first hill, at the golf course.  I was all by my lonesome now– just me and 14,000 sweaty companions.

I struggled up the hill a bit and was bummed when I completely lost sight of Danielle.  I kind of gunned it down the other side, all the while internally chastising myself, “Slow the f**k down, you dumba**.  You’re going to regret this.”  Then, the course flattened out a bit and I just continued to put one foot in front of the other.

Oh, hai. Apparently I ran most of this race with my eyes closed. This is pretty much the only picture in which I have them open.

The whole time I was running, I was delighted to be doing so.  I checked the clock each time I hit a mile marker and as the miles ticked by, I dared to hope I could come in under 1:20:00.  I couldn’t remember what my time was last year, but I knew it was just under that.  The clocks seemed to indicate that this was a possibility, which was just insane to me.  But I didn’t question it.

The second and worst hill came along and I attacked it feeling tired and energized all at once.  When I got to the top, I made the turn and looked around intently for Amanda, who is the girlfriend of one of Steve’s brothers.  I thought I remembered her saying she would be there.  There was a huge crowd there (and really, all along the entire course– love this race!) but I didn’t see her.  I kept looking and looking and slowly realized that I was actually still climbing a hill.  I had forgotten that this was the hill that goes on and on and on.  So Amanda provided a welcome distraction for a while, even though I didn’t see her!

On the downhill, I once again gunned it and cursed internally at myself.  As the course flattened out and I came upon mile 8, I knew I would see the G’s soon.  Sure, enough, I heard Mr. G’s enthusiastic hollers before I even saw them!  I gave them a tired smile and wave and knew I was in the home stretch.  I tried to kick (ha!) and made my way down the gentle slope to the finish, feeling very glad that the end of the course goes that way.  The hills had pretty much taken everything out of me.

T calls this one “I’m every woman!”

Look at that smug smirk. It says something like, “F you, plantar fasciitis!”

I ambled along through the finish area, sweaty and happy and feeling pretty awesome, all-in-all.  The gang had made a plan for a meeting place that turned out to be a not-so-distinct spot, so I kind of wandered around ’til I miraculously found Danielle.  Thanks to a few people running with phones, (including me) Danielle, Steve, T, Steve’s bros, and I were eventually able to convene and drink many, many, MANY Saranac brews, which were going down oh-so-smooth.  YUM.  As my buzz kicked in, I thought I couldn’t possibly be happier than I was in that moment.  I had run a  race I was pleased with, after months of no running, and everything including my FOOT felt good.

I had to cut T out of this one of me and Danielle because he was photo bombing, per usual.

Smushy face. T, by the way, KILLED his time from last year! I am so proud!!!!!

My time, it turns out, was 1:18:53, (8:28 min/miles) so I *did* come in under 1:20!  Not only that, but holy crap– I beat my time from last year.  By, like, 9 seconds, but STILL!  For me, this is a very pleasant surprise.  I guess all the Flywheelin’ has kept me in decent cardio shape.  Either that, or I was so jazzed to be running again, or my watch was dead and I wasn’t obsessing over my splits, or I knew the course this year, or it wasn’t quite so blistering hot this year.  Whatever the reason, I was completely giddy (ok, and also drunk) all day on Sunday.  Monday I was also on Cloud 9 and my foot felt good, though my quads were aching– which is only natural, considering those hills and the fact that I am out of running shape.

Tuesday, yesterday, and today my foot feels a bit stiff.  I nixed the plan to hit up my running class on Tuesday (session #8 of 10, for which I have paid and haven’t attended once– GRRR) and instead went to Flywheel Tues and Wednesday.  Although now that I was able to run a long-ish race with no pain and all I want to do is run run run run run and start training for fall marathons… I am DETERMINED to be smart about it.

I am staying optimistic, and yet realistic.  Just like my headline suggests.

And that’s all I have to say for now. 🙂

Whiny Post With Pretty Pics

9 Jan

So, yeah, it’s been a little while since I updated.  That’s mainly ’cause I’m super salty that my foot is still being an a**hole.  *insert angelic face here*

Since last I wrote, I:

(1) moved

(2) drank a lotta beer with some cool, fun friends

(3) worked, then walked home over the Queensboro Bridge with my good friend, Cookie

(4) ran 5ish miles

(5) ran 4ish miles

(6) went to Happy Hour (see #2)

(7) went out to delicious tapas with cool, fun friends in my old ‘hood

(8) had a wonderful visitor of the Irish variety

This is my dear friend Elizabeth. She is not Irish, but she does live in Dublin and has for many years since we graduated college. Also, neither one of us is naked in this pic, though that does appear to be the case.

(9) Went to a birthday party (again, in my old ‘hood.  I find it ironic that since I’ve moved from the UES, I’ve spent more time hanging out there than I ever did when I was actually a resident!

(10) Went to a fun trivia night in Brooklyn and aided my team’s 5th place victory with my knowledge of Lady Gaga lyrics and Judy Blume novels

(11) Sulked a TON about my foot

(12) Visited an island!

So, since Saturday was positively balmy, T and I took a little trek to Roosevelt Island.  For those who do not know, Roosevelt Island is a little island (duh) between Manhattan and Queens and is about 2 miles long.  It had an estimated population of 12,000 in 2007 (thanks, Wikipedia!)  It used to have a “Lunatic Asylum” on it.

And it is weird as sh*t.

I’m sorry, but it is one of the strangest places I have ever been.  I seriously felt as though I was in an M. Night Shamalamadingdong movie.  Bizarre.  I don’t know how to put it into words.  It’s worth a visit, just so you can see it.

Anyhow, T and I walked across the Triborough Bridge to get there, and then we kind of wandered to the water, where we looked at Manhattan and the Queensboro Bridge and stuff.

Then we went to the Riverwalk Bar and got a couple Goose Island IPAs and hung out for a bit.

Then we walked toward the tram, which is one of the 2 modes of public transportation to and from RI (the other is the F train.)

There goes the tram! What a beautiful day.

Approaching the loading dock, or whatever you want to call it

Looking up at the bridge as we approach the tram

And so we got on the tram and rode it to Manhattan.  I have to admit I usually have some serious trepidation when on ski lifts and was afraid I would experience the same on this thing (yes, I know, I’m a wuss) but it was actually cool and not scary at all.  And since it was such a gorgeous day, there were really beautiful views.

Looking down at the path I've run so many times

approaching the City

almost back on solid ground!

Anyhow, I didn’t intend for this to be such a Roosevelt Island-heavy post, but since it was such a gorgeous day, I wound up with a lot of pretty pictures!


I ran a 5-miler and a 4-miler last week and iced my foot like a maniac all week long.  I am literally sitting with a frozen water bottle under my desk all damn day.  I’m sleeping in that darn boot that causes me to wake up every single night in the middle of the night and have a pep talk with myself that even though I really want to take it off, ’cause it’s so darn uncomfortable, I need to leave it on so I can heal and run again.

I haven’t worn any of these beauties in a long, long time.

I miss you guys

All I wear are sneakers or some sort of boot that is big enough to allow my special arch-supporting inserts to fit in.

But my foot still hurts.  I called my doc last week to ask what else I can do and am currently awaiting a call back.  WAHHHHHHHHHH.


But, looking forward to the future, my official NYCM 2012 status came through last week!

And I just signed up for the Boilermaker, which is a super fun race!

It’s totally all good!

Sorry for the completely not cohesive post, but I’m a little nutty sans running.  I hope everyone’s 2012 is awesome so far, and I hope your weekends were wonderful, and if you’re in NYC, you better have gotten outside! 🙂

Farewell, 2011! Bring it, 2012!

30 Dec

Oh, hi.  It’s New Years Eve-Eve, and all I can think about is my not-even-half-packed-up studio on the Upper East Side and the fact that my movers are coming at 9 AM sharp tomorrow to cart ALL MY SH*T to Astoria.

I’m stressed.

And while I am stoked to be living in sin with T, I would be lying if I said I was stoked to leave the UES, which is where I have lived for the past 7.5 years.  (Good Lord, I am old.)

Honestly, my anxiety about leaving the UES has very little/zero to do with outer borough snobbery.  I LOVE Astoria.  There are awesome restaurants and bars there, it’s basically a hop-skip-and-jump from Manhattan, (really!  it is!  come VISITTTTT!) and several of my NYC besties live there already.  Plus there’s the whole palatial-apartment-for-a-fraction-of-Manhattan-rent thing.

But I am going to miss the accessibility to the park.  It’s now going to be a real effort to get there.  Iwill say I have run over the Q’boro Bridge from Queens to Manhattan countless times in the past year and a half.  And it’s a nice run.

Fantastic view from Qboro bridge one morning before work

But from T’s place (now my place!) just to the base of the park, it’s already close to 4 miles.   I am going to have to get used to running with a backpack and showering and getting ready at the office, a notion that I do not relish.  But I can and will make it work.  I’m also going to allow myself cabs to the park from time to time, seeing as how I’ll be saving a bundle on rent.

Oh, dear reservoir, I will so miss your proximity...

At least the move stuff is keeping me distracted from my true current angst, which is:

Yeah.  It’s still there.  It still hurts.

I went to a spinning class on Wednesday morning before work, after a week of sloth and cookie-inhalation .  Ho hum.  Yesterday, I just couldn’t bear the thought of going to the gym again.  And while it was cold out, I actually love running in cold (I prefer to think of it as brisk!) weather.  So I suited up and went for a little run.

I'm obviously really good at self-portraits. Also, my apartment is a mess. I'm moving! Give me a break!

Anyhow, I know I’m not supposed to run, but I put my inserts in my running shoes and I spent a good amount of time rolling out the arch of my foot with a frozen water bottle before AND after the run.  And– dare I say it?– the pain wasn’t quite as bad as it has been!  This could quite possibly be wishful thinking…

Anyhow, thus far the grand total mileage for my week is a little over 4 miles.  Wow.

But let’s talk about pleasant things, shall we?  Like my year in running!  This year marked my 10th (and 11th) marathons and my two fastest times, including one BQ.  I prefer not to split hairs on this topic, so yes I do consider my 3:38:52 in Columbus a BQ.  It’s not my fault that Boston was already filled for 2012 by the time I qualified.  Also not my fault that they made the qualifying times tighter for 2013 and now I have to get a 3:35 (or more like a 3:30 to ensure entry– the field is getting tougher and tougher!) in order to qualify!  Yay, fast women!

So yeah.  One of the highest points of my life was on October 16, 2011

And though it was a pretty f**king tough fight, I am proud of how I fared in the NYC marathon, a mere 3 weeks later.  3:45:35, and while I know that’s not impressive for a lot of folks, it was better than I expected.

I was pretty miserable at keeping good track of my mileage, but from what I do have, my mileage for the year was 1406.  I definitely didn’t record everything, but that number averages out to 27 miles a week, which isn’t horrible!  I don’t really make New Years resolutions (why set myself up for failure?) but I really DO want to do better at recording mileage this year.  I signed up for Daily Mile yesterday and thus far have a whopping 4 miles recorded in there.  But I’m hoping that will help me keep better track of my miles in 2012!  And I’m hoping those miles are many! 🙂

As for races in 2011, here’s my New York Road Runners summary and proof that I qualified for NYCM 2012!  Holla!

Yeah, my paces are all over the damn place.

I ran a few additional races, including the Boilermaker in Utica, which I definitely want to do again this summer.  That race is a hilly little b*tch, but in general any event that combines my two favorite things– beer and running?  Sign me up indefinitely!

Saranac Brewery, thank you for kindly (further de)hydrating me post-race. You make a delicious beverage.

What other races will I do in 2012?  Well, I hope to run at least one other marathon because I would really like to run a 3:30 and I do not want to have a time goal for NYCM.  That race is just too damn stressful withOUT having a goal; I can’t fathom running it WITH one.

So yes, I would love to run a 3:30 in 2012 and thus, qualify for Boston in 2013.  I am wary of saying this publicly, though, because 3:30 is a lofty goal for me.  It involves shaving nearly 9 minutes off of my PR.  Some days I think this is  definitely a possibility; others I think definitely not.

Oh yeah, and there’s that whole PF thing that I think I’ve mentioned a few times before… kind of a factor…

I am NOT running Surf City.  I need to be nice to my foot so I can run many, many more miles in the future.  That race is cursed for me anyway.  Second damn year in a row I signed up for it and am not able to run it.  Harumpf.

I AM running the Cherry Blossom 10-miler!  I’m excited for this.  I love DC and I’ve never been at cherry blossom time.

I AM signed up for the Manhattan Half, which is scarily soon.  Not sure if my li’l foot will be up to snuff by then…

If and when my foot gets better, I will run many, many more races, ’cause I love races and stuff.

I’m really losing focus here…

Anyhow, one final good thing that happened this year was that I discovered running blogs and started reading them obsessively.  Then I started this li’l blog.  And while most times I feel it is boring as hell, I have had fun with it!

So, thanks for being, all-in-all, a pretty sweet year, 2011!  Happy New Year, everyone!  Bring it on, 2012! 🙂

This thing is gonna get decorated to the MAX in 2012!