Race weekend part uno

Also known as Operation NYCM Part 4.

Since my last post, I ran the All for One 4-miler, which was largely uneventful and exactly the same as the City Parks 4-miler two weeks before that. Today’s UAE Healthy Kidney 10K makes my fourth race of nine required for guaranteed entry.

This race was particularly meaningful to me because this was one I had no intention of signing up for (uh, what?) I had decided after the NYC half that I would keep my racing to a minimum for the health of my wallet and for my happiness. Last year, I noticed that I wasn’t enjoying running as much when I was on a training plan for the half marathon I didn’t end up running. The pressure of knowing I had to run x-miles on a given day became really unappealing and overall counterproductive for my training. I’ve since changed courses — I run for fun. I run when I have time. And I run until I get too tired to run more.

Anyways, the point is —  I had no plans to sign up for more races. Early on January 22, I received rather unexpected news that my grandfather had passed away and in the ensuing hours, there was a scramble to find plane tickets to China for the funeral. (As New Yorkers will remember, that was also the day of a huge snowstorm, when all flights were cancelled/delayed approximately two days.) In the end, I wasn’t able to attend the funeral, but in the haze of helplessness and grief, I knew I wanted to do something meaningful to mark my loss. To be completely honest, I don’t even remember actually signing up for the race but when I did realize it was on the books, I decided to go the extra mile (ha-ha, get it? i’m funny) and gun for 9 races and NYCM2015. So in a way, the UAE run and my goals for the NYCM2015 are all a tribute to my grandfather.

I’m normally not one to assign higher meaning to the things that happen to me, but I really do think my grandfather was watching over me today because by all appearances, I did NOT have a good pre-race morning. I woke up with a granddad of all stomachaches. My gps watch was completely dead. I forgot my race fuel. I took a nice (un)graceful fall down the stairs at the train station. My phone battery was half way to 0. And the corrals were PACKED.

But once I started running, all the negativeness just fell away. I started at a nice steady pace with easy breathing and despite the packed corrals, there were no aggressive runners cutting me off. Without my gps watch, I wasn’t focused on maintaining a certain pace. All I had was my music and the road. and the HUMIDITY. (76% humidity at the end of the race, but it felt much higher starting out.) It gave me a lot of time to think, about my grandfather, about my dad (who recently had kidney surgery), and about my mom (as Mother’s Day is tomorrow). Six miles flew by and I felt NO pain. Not in my ankle, not in my stomach, and not even on my back from sliding down the staircase. And to top it off, I ran faster than I’ve run in any other NYRR race. BAM.

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Shaking off the Monday blues

I had a severe case of the blues on Monday so I slept it off like a bad hangover and woke up this morning with way too much energy but still too cranky to actually talk to another human. (Only dogs welcome)

This morning was a four mile run along the east river (my absolute most favorite morning route of all) with stunning views of the sunrise. I ended my run at the gym for a quick stretch (woo, go me!) and a little bit of ab/arm work. Endorphins make such a difference on my mood!

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easter ten

Sunday was beautiful and sunny and the absolute perfect day to run so I took the opportunity to chase down a new running route. As wonderful as New York is, finding a good route is sometimes tricky:

1. Run at the right time or you’ll have to part crowds like Moses parted the sea. And seriously, no one can do it like Moses. For example, don’t run the Brooklyn Bridge after 9am. Ever. Except maybe when it’s 10 degrees outside, in which case you can forget the tourists and start worrying about frostbite and wind burns.

2. Movie filming and/or parades and/or summer food fairs. Law and Order. That new Gyllenhal movie, ST. Patricks day parade, West Indian day parade (yea that one actually happened to me.) People get REALLY upset when you cut off their float. Sheesh.

3. Poop. Dog poop. Horse poop. Maybe even pig poop.

Anyways, the point is, I’m constantly looking for new routes and I’ve even taken to running on the street. On Sunday, I ran up Allen Street to First Ave straight to 60th street and across the bridge to Queens and back. I usually go on my long runs with a metrocard but I totally resisted this time and I made it all the way back for an even 10 miles, just in time to crash Easter dimsum with my friends. No pictures of that because I was too hangry to focus the camera. And I was too busy eating.

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April…. Snow?!

Mother Nature needs to watch herself. It snowed last night and dropped about 40 degrees in a day. The warm summery feeling of this past weekend seems like a figment of my imagination.

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(Basking in the sun on Low Steps at Columbia during Bacchanal)

This morning, I woke to ice on the ground, light dusting of icy snow on the parked cars and a whole lot of confusion. I mean, really? It’s April! Next, I’m sure it’ll start raining puppies. Because that makes sense too.

This morning was half an hour on the octane machine and too little time in the weights area. I took my sweet time this morning and only left myself about 40 minutes to sweat. Not ideal, but I think a mediocre workout is better than no workout… I may also head back to the gym for an evening yoga class to stretch out the muscles in my leg/leading to my ankle. I normally don’t work out at night anymore because I get too much adrenaline and then find it impossible to fall asleep. (Guys, be honest, do I sound old?)

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Is it spring yet?

I finally emerged from my weeklong sloth fest for a slow pre-rain run before work this morning. I’ve been feeling a little bored of the gym so I did a random loop around the ‘hood and called it a day. Unfortunately my last mile was more of a hobble than a run — my ankle has been bothering me hardcore and I’ve been meaning to get it looked at before I do any damage. Instead, I’ve been trying to throw shoes at the problem. Does anyone have thoughts on the mizuno inspire 10s? Speak now or forever hold yo’ piece. Actually it may be too late, Zappos is pretty fast.

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nuts for butter

I mentioned a while back that I would share the most perfect but butter with everyone and I’ve been keeping that particular secret for far too long. (I’m a terrible secret keeper so it’s pretty impressive how long I’ve gone.)

The object of my affections lately has been Maranatha’s chunky almond butter. It is seriously a sign that a God exists and he loves us dearly. It’s the perfect consistency for eating straight from the jar (please don’t judge me) or on bananas and apples if that’s your thing. Runners up are Maranatha’s creamy almond butter and Whole Food’s 365 chunky peanut butter. Do you have a favorite?

Below: My chunky Maranatha’s was gone before I remembered to take a picture and now my creamy one is done too. 😦

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Protip: go get your Maranatha at Target if you can. It runs about 3-4 dollars cheaper and at the rate I’m going, that’s a huge difference.

Terrible Tuesday

Ok, maybe I’m being a little dramatic. Or a lot. It’s maybe been a mediocre but kinda sucky Tuesday. Of course, that’s just not as catchy.

We had another dreary morning here in New York and I had the hardest time getting moving. I skipped the morning boot camp class because I knew my ankle would not handle the constant jumping. Three miles into my Sunday run, my right ankle started acting up. I’ve never had an easy time with running, what with my awkwardly formed flat bunion-y feet (curse genetics!) and sometimes all the pain flares up at once. Sunday was one of those days. I decided I would take it easy and get on the elliptical instead of the treadmill.

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I showed up without the most important part of my heart rate monitor (the transmitter) so I didn’t get to track my workout. I was surprised how lost I felt without it. HOW ELSE WILL I KNOW MY HEART IS BEATING? Yea, I know. I’m ridiculous. >