Archive for November 2013

Worst Case Scenario: Join the Voices 5M

The past two weeks I been wrestling with an annoying cough that creeps up at inopportune times and sends me into a fit of hacks and wheezes. Usually, a solid day or two off gives my body a chance to catch up and get better. Unfortunately a particularly crazy work week not only made that impossible, but left me more burnt out on top of everything else. After a careful examination of the nuances of my malady, I decided this isn’t something I should run through as I was already feeling exhausted (and not “long day” exhausted, but sore body, frail exhausted). So I waited. And waited. And waited… No change.

The next thing I know is it is Sunday morning and I am laying in bed knowing that there was a good chance this would happen- that I would have to run one of my qualifying races feeling like, well, shit. It could have been sleep deprivation from work,  it could have been my knee flaring up, or any number of slight injuries. It happened to be this weird cough situation I haven’t been able to shake.

It’s not until I am bib-ed up and sitting on the train next to my Mister that I realize I forgot my watch. I have never forgotten my watch for running, not for short jogs, not for long runs, not for any race.

When I found my corral, I found myself up a closer corral than usual.

So just to summarize the weirdness:

Sick.
Forgot watch for the first time ever.
Closest corral yet. Why not.

This photo just about sums up my feelings:

This photo just about sums up my feelings:

 

My miles broke down like this:

Mile 1: I felt like pretty stilted. Like I was lumbering back and forth. Like a polar bear.

Miles 2, and 3: Felt amazing- in my groove, stoked to be running again. So distracted, I missed the MET (one of my usual mental markers during Central Park runs). Visually, mentally, did not register it at all.

Mile 4Hurting. So much that I saw a random volunteer and my first thought was “Where does this thing end?” Note: I knew exactly where the end was. Perhaps I meant “Make this thing end.”

Mile 5: I can hear the crowds! I can count the blocks (via lampposts) on one hand! This thing is going to end and I am going to be alive when it does!

When I finish I have no idea what time it is and when I do find out my results I’m shocked:

0:41:03

wait, what? No PR of course, but only 20 seconds slower than my race three weeks ago? Awesome time for feeling sick and under-trained, but the obvious questions becomes “What the @*#& was I doing three weeks ago?’

In my head, the day had begun as a perfect storm of Worst Case Scenarios, but sick, healthy, PR, no PR, at least I’m certainly consistent. And I realized it could always be worse. I mean, at least it wasn’t raining.

 

Arcade Fire: I’m Not Going to Stop and You Can’t Make Me

Little known fact:  Greta Gerwig and I attended the same dance academy: Fake-it-till-You-Make-it’s School for Naturally Un-Gifted Dancers- the greatest school of them all.

Avenue with a View: Mile 19 at the ING New York City Marathon

By now, the New York City Marathon has come and gone, but the experience of it still lingers with me. Of course, this year that experience of it was as a spectator.

Let me begin by stating: I am not a morning person. For the past ten years I have felt best at 2:30 in the morning and for the past three years I have been desperately trying to reconcile myself with the fact that I will have to one day abandon these crazy habits to enter the real world. Nevertheless, the night before, the Mister and I attended a Hootenanny that involved a barn, a roast pig, a bonfire, and near constant campfire song lead by an acoustic guitar. We drove back home around 2:30 (post daylight savings time) and were pulled over twice for, yes, a broken taillight. The second troopers happened to think that was hysterical. And it would have been hysterical if the car hadn’t already caused us enough problems to have earned the name the Ticketmobile .

But at last we made it back and slept, not sure if I would ever wake to watch any portion of the marathon running by our apartment.

Marathon Spectating

Morning person: no. Excited spectator: yes.

But I did wake up. I woke up at 9:00 am and felt like it was Christmas morning. The Mister came with me and together we walked to the course in time to watch the elite runners pass. As incredible as it was to watch some of the best distance runners in the world pass by performing at an incredible standard, it was almost more mind-blowing to realize that we were watching the very brink of the marathon- that these were the first feet of thousands that would run the course that day. It was like putting the first footprints in fresh snow. Too cool.

It was chilly, so we went back to the apartment and watched the first place men and women’s finish on TV. We ventured out again early in the afternoon and came upon mid-pack runners. Whereas in the morning, the streets were eerie quiet and empty save for anxious spectators waiting for the first glimpse of pavement pounding, now the streets were in a total uproar- packed with runners dodging flying paper cups and pushing through the gauntlet of cheering.

marathon spec II

“Squirrels from Hell”

The entertainment stations were in full swing, and the Mister and I happened upon one which featured a band called “Squirrels from Hell.” Great name, decent band. The best part was across the street were three NYPD officers stationed near the route, and whenever the band stopped playing, the officers started yelling across the street. Things to the effect of “Don’t stop now, they [the runners] need you!” Apparently they had established quite the dialogue because at one point in between songs the band said, through the mic, “We only take requests from the rank of Captain or above,” which garnered laughs all around.

Also, I love cheering for runners. During my days in cross country, now (only a half sarcastic) many years ago, I can still remember people cheering my number or the phrases of encouragement thrown out at a particularly difficult point in a course. “GOOO DAN!” I yelled. Now the Mister turns to me with the most incredulous look on his face. “That is so creepy,” he says. I try to explain names have been written on thousands of shirts today just for this purpose. I try to explain how awesome it feels. But instead he remains creeped out- or determined to get my goat- I can’t tell.

In the end we strike a deal: He cheers for runners by name and I bust out my most ridiculous dance moves to the music of “Squirrels from Hell.” It was a grand day.

Dash to the Finish!

While most runners in New York this weekend were eating their final bowl of pasta before the BIG race on Sunday, a few (thousand) of us were warming up the roads Saturday morning.

That’s right- the New York Road Runner’s Dash to the Finish!

Staging for the race began just around the corner from the United Nations, on 47th Street between 1st and 2nd Ave. I found my corral early and it looked like they were set up for about 10,000 runners.

IMG-20131102-00134

I saw costumes and flags, mostly worn as capes, that represented countries from, well, everywhere. Bavaria (about six people in a lederhosen/milkmaid like costumes) and Japan (traditional samurai-like robe) stand out in my mind as particularly enthusiastic.

47th Street filled up quickly until it was packed curb to curb with runners. We had to wait a short bit here, until we were ushered out onto 1st Avenue, just in front of the United Nations building for the anthem and start.

And then we were off!

Notes on the course:

Stoplights: The first time I saw a yellow light, my thought was “-gotta beat that light-” and then I realized, I don’t gotta beat that light because the streets are closed. Obvious, but still a pretty cool surprise due to my apparent short term memory loss.

Enthusiasm: Off the charts. I can’t even imagine how crazy people must feel marathon morning because this was the day before and I could still feel the excitement about race weekend.

Enthusiasm: Also dangerous. A lot of runners were stopping cold in the middle of the road, running backwards, or not looking where they were going at all in order to take selfies. I get it, this is awesome, we’re all excited to be here, but there are literally thousands of people moving like an ocean wave so maybe we should step to the side to take that picture of the Chrysler building, no?

I love watching people at the finish line because that last stretch is always a mixture of elation of knowing you are almost done, and scraping together your final push.

I was a little bit nervous because I had my heart set on beating my fastest 5K time to date (since high school anyway.) However that was over 2 months ago, and since then about 95% of my runs have focused on distance and endurance, at the cost of at least 1 weekly speed work session. Part of this was because I had been training for a 1/2 marathon and wanted to be comfortable with the distance, and part of this was because I hate speed work. And love long runs. *Sigh*

So I was concerned.

And I managed to mess up my split display last time I used my watch, but didn’t realize until I was running. And I managed to mess up my last split marker- so that last mile was a real mystery.

So when I finished, by the time on my watch I was pretty sure I didn’t make my goal. Which I was okay with. OK, honestly disappointed, but deep down I know it is time to get more serious and set up a more structured training schedule- one that includes regular speed work.

And then I checked my official results: 0:24:00! Which makes it my 5K PR with a pace of 7:45 per mile. And I am stoked. And ready to start some genuine speed training from this point on.