Tuesday, May 14, 2013

This one is for Justin!

Congratulations to Justin, the #1 fan of my (sorely neglected) blog, on finishing his first half marathon in Providence, RI, over the weekend! You are a rock star, Justin!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

5 weeks to go until Chicago. AKA blog fail

I am a terrible blogger this season. I'm pretty sure I said that the last time I posted, too--in June (!). Gah. It's late August, and we're just over a month out from the Chicago marathon on 10/7. Hard to believe that the summer has gone by so fast. I'm at the point in training when I don't really want to do it anymore. I just want to get to race day and get going. Then I want to sleep in for a couple of months and get back to running in the spring. Last Saturday, I completed a very hot, very hilly 23 miles in Central Park with my Gallowayans. The thinking behind the route was that if we could run the 23 miler in CP, we could do it anywhere, since most races are flatter than the park. Also, we were able to pass an aid stop several times, easily get to bathrooms, water, etc. Brilliant. The routes this season have been fairly new, since our leadership team (ahem, one member of our leadership team) has decided that this is the season for new routes that preferably include bridges. Don't get me wrong, I love exploring the city, but it can be a bit complicated to do a new route on a long run, especially when it's really hot. People get grumpy. Anyway, Saturday's 23 miler went pretty well. It was much better than our 20 miler two weeks prior, when we ran from Columbus Circle all the way up to Inwood and back. The aid stop was at mile 10, which would've been ok, I think, had it not been so hot and humid. Many in our group ran out of water before we hit the aid stop and we couldn't find water fountains or anything along the route. (We did, however, find a hilarious street sign in Inwood, located at the intersection of Seaman St and Cumming St. In our maturity, we had a little giggle and took some photos). Needless to say, the 20 miler felt ridiculously long, and many people dropped out at the aid stop due to the heat. I came home afterward and spent the rest of the day watching movies in bed. I was wiped. After the 23 miler, however, I went to my birthday party and was festive despite being tired. I felt pretty good, except for a nasty leg cramp that wouldn't go away after mile 18 or so. I've never had those before, but it seemed to get a little better as I upped my salt intake. I commented to someone that I was really glad I didn't have to run as many miles as my age. 23 was quite enough. Plus, I had to cut my celebration on the actual day short in order to go to bed early and get up at 4 on Saturday morning. In any case, my birthday was lovely and I felt a great sense of accomplishment to be done with the 23 miler. We have one long run left in September before Chicago, and then I'll be tapering. Can't believe it's almost here!

Monday, June 18, 2012

2012 training is well underway.

Oops. Shame on me for neglecting my blog so far this season. My apologies to the four people who read it. You know who you are. :) Things have been busy this spring/summer, leaving little time for writing, but I'll do my best to summarize. Galloway started a week earlier this year because we have a new leadership team that is really focused on sticking more faithfully to the Galloway model. Not that we weren't doing so before, but Jeff G. really encourages running longer than 26 miles before a marathon. He says it prepares us mentally and often results in better times. Regardless, because I'm running Chicago this fall, I am not doing a 26+ mile run. That's just the way the schedule worked out. Fine with me. 26.2 is plenty! So we're a few weeks into the season, and next weekend is a 13 miler. We've had some interesting new routes so far, including over the Williamsburg Bridge (complete with really snarky graffiti, appropriate for the neighborhood). My "magic mile" times have improved significantly since last spring, which is amazing. The first time we did the MM (a timed mile, and predictor for marathon pace/finish time), I finished it in 9:50. I haven't run that fast since middle school. (Oh, horrible flashbacks to the Presidential Fitness Challenge). The second time we did it, I finished a few seconds faster, like 9:30 or something like that. My goal for Chicago is to break 6 hours. I missed that by 17 seconds at the Marine Corps Marathon, which still bugs me. Chicago is flat, but it can be really hot there, so we'll have to see. Luckily, there is a great group of Gallos running Chicago this year, so I'll have people to pace with. The hardest part of the season so far has been getting up on Saturday mornings. I'm working so much (much more than in my previous job) and I'm completely spent by the end of the week. That's especially true now because we're in budget season (only for two more weeks, thankfully). It's been really challenging to get enough sleep during the week, and I definitely feel the effects during my workouts. This past Saturday, we did a 6 miler over the Queensborough Bridge and back and up the UES, and my feet and legs fought me the whole time. I just didn't want to run at all. When I came home, I had my usual snack and took an epic nap. That's becoming part of my routine too! All things considered, I've been feeling pretty well. I've been keeping up a regular yoga practice, as well as other cross training, and I definitely feel like I've gotten stronger. Soreness/stiffness varies day to day, but the medication continues to help. I've also gotten better about icing and using my foam roller/stick regularly. I could probably stand to pay a bit more attention to what I'm eating, especially as the runs get longer. It's hard to find time and energy to cook when I'm so tired after work. I really should make it a goal to cook more, at least one new recipe a week or something like that. I'll think about it. Sorry again for disappearing for the past couple of months. Thank you to everyone for being patient as I figure out how to balance the demands of my job with the rest of my life. I appreciate all of you for asking how the training is going. Your questions hold me accountable! Happy running, and happy (almost) summer!

Friday, March 09, 2012

Spring training

I've been on a bit of a hiatus from running this winter. The longest I've gone is 5 miles, and I've only done that a few times over the past three months. Mostly, I've traded in my morning runs for trips to the gym and to yoga. My fellow Galloway teammates (meaning the ones who've also taken the winter off, not the crazy ones who've kept up their ultras all winter) and I have committed to starting again as a group in March, before the season formally starts in May. I failed last weekend when I completely overslept and woke up in Brooklyn at the time I was supposed to be meeting folks in Manhattan. Oops. Too bad time travel doesn't work. Tomorrow is a new day, and I'm fully planning to be there. Hold me accountable, people.

I didn't really plan on running a marathon this fall (sound familiar? I had the same thought last fall, and we know how that turned out)-- but I totally caved to peer pressure when the flurry of emails about registering for Chicago flooded my inbox. I knew that there was a chance I wouldn't get into the NYCM through the lottery, and the idea of not running a race made me feel left out. I put aside my concern about cost of entry, flight, hotel, etc and went for it.

So, Chicago, here I come! This makes marathon #5. Hard to believe. I'm looking forward to running in a different city and to seeing friends along the way. That part will be especially great, since I don't get to see my Midwesterners very often. I'm not as excited about getting up early on Saturday mornings all summer, but it would feel strange not to after doing so for two years.

Thus begins another pre-season. Time for some real motivation.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

Welcome, 2012! Here's to a year full of health, happiness, peace, and running for fun!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Race report: Marine Corps Marathon

I'm a week late, but it's been busy since I got back from DC on Monday. Short version: I survived the freezing cold start (complete with a long trek to the official line by the Pentagon), beat the bridge, and crossed the finish in 6 hours and 18 seconds. I would've broken six hours had it not taken so long for a bathroom break at mile 7. There were not enough bathrooms along the course, and the lines were super long. But--the weather was beautiful (once I got warmed up), a vast improvement over Saturday, when it actually snowed in DC.

My amazing family gathered for dinner on Saturday night (after I spent a great day with K; lunch at her place and a trip to the expo, where I ran into another friend). I stayed at my cousin's place near the start on Saturday night. She got up at the crack of dawn and drove me as far as she could before the road closed. She definitely gets the best cousin award! She dropped me off and I joined a crew of runners schlepping for what felt like miles in the dark through the Pentagon parking lots. I didn't prepare for temperatures as cold as it was, so I was absolutely miserable. For a few minutes, I actually wondered if I'd be able to run, since my legs were too cold to move. I was too cold to appreciate the parachute jumpers over the start or Drew Carey marshalling the race. But we got underway at 8--I crossed the start about 8:15am. The first few miles are a blur: through Roslyn, along a really pretty stretch of road with beautiful foliage overhead, along the canal near Georgetown, along M street (which was great after seeing the runners ahead of us pass by on the right) and over the bridge into DC. I saw a friend from Eliot as I was passing by the Kennedy Center, which was so great. I love seeing familiar faces along the course! I was still feeling good at that point, but beating the bridge was always on my mind. Right around the Lincoln Memorial (mile 10ish?) I saw my parents with a giant "We love M" sign that cracked me up. I stopped for pictures with them and Dad had issues with the camera. Gotta beat the bridge, gotta beat the bridge! Still feeling good, I continued along, past the Jefferson Memorial (my favorite) and around the point that I don't remember the name of. I felt good up until the halfway point, when my back end started to hurt. I still had 13.1 miles to go and was stressed about beating the bridge, so I ignored it and kept going. I'm sure it was because I'd started too fast in my frenzy to avoid the stragglers' buses! I started to see some really great signs along the way: "26.2 miles, because 26.3" would be crazy!" and "Hey total stranger, I'm so proud of you!" and some Halloween themed signs, such as "You're goblin up the miles!" and "Run! There's a ghost chasing you."

Right around mile 14, there was a big crowd of frat boys dancing to loud club music. It reminded me of the frat on the corner of 19th street in the middle of the GW campus. Ahead of me, I saw my Galloway teammate I'd been hoping to run into (ha). She's a marathon maniac, and had run Hartford two weeks prior and is doing NYC tomorrow. Crazy, right? Anyway, she was a lifesaver. She dragged me with her for the rest of the race. We saw my family again along the mall at about mile 18. The sign made it hard to miss them. My parents have really become super spectators. I promised I wouldn't make them come to my next race. Anyway, we kept plugging along. C (my Gallo friend) and I were keeping pace to beat the bridge. By the time we hit mile 20 and actually made it on to the bridge, I was thinking, "what do you mean, I'm not done?" So much mental energy went to getting to mile 20 and not into running the whole race. I was starting to feel heavy in my feet and super sore in my low back and hamstrings. But we kept on. The bridge was endless. I thought it was awful before we even left the on ramp for the actual bridge itself. C was laughing at me. She's run MCM before and was trying to prepare me. Oh, it was a struggle. Mile 21 was on the bridge. We finally passed that and got off the bridge in Crystal City. I had a donut hole courtesy of the very nice marine at the food station. Delicious. I was hungry, and the bag of peanut m&ms I had with me had gone quickly, as soon as I started to hurt around mile 14-15.

Crystal City was mostly an out-and-back for the last few miles of the race. It was a huge drag to see the runners ahead of us pass on the right. (Those were definitely the worst parts of the race!) My internal monologue was something like, "Where do we turn? Where in the world do we turn?" (cleaned up for posting purposes). When we finally did turn, I grabbed another donut from the nice marines and we kept going. Mile 23 and 24 have escaped my memory. Mile 25 and 26 were on a stretch of highway with no spectators. Ugh. It felt like we'd never finish. There was a guy next to me who said he was going to take his time and use the full 7 hours now that he'd beat the bridge. (We saw the stragglers' bus when we turned, about 2 miles behind us. So disappointing to put in all the training and not be allowed to finish!) That guy could do what he wanted, but by that point, I just wanted to get off my feet. There was a police tower at mile 26, and once I hit that, I took a hard left and ran up the hill (gasped and said a few choice words) to the Iwo Jima memorial toward the finish. Thank goodness. A marine gave me my medal and congratulated me. I thanked her for her service. It was really powerful to see all the marines along the course volunteering and cheering us on. I kept shuffling along, trying to figure out where my bag and my family were. After another two miles or so (at least that's what it felt like), I found my parents and my warm clothes. Best feeling ever, to put on a sweatshirt and take off my sneakers. I was walking pretty slowly, but I felt good.

The next day, I woke up feeling incredibly sore. My feet hurt worse than they did after last year's NYC marathon. But I was proud of myself and thrilled it was done. I can't wait to sleep in for a few weekends before getting into a winter running routine. It was a fun race, really moving to see all the runners out in honor of veterans, and so many cute marines everywhere! I'm almost fully recovered a week later, and excited to cheer my fellow Gallos and all the other runners on tomorrow!