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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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. >

Operation NYCM pt 2

I ran the second race of the nine I’ll have to run to get guaranteed entry in the NYC marathon in 2015 and I finally shaved almost 30 seconds off my official pace time. Wooo! I just went from a snail’s pace to tortoise pace!

Anyways, I did something a little different this time after reading Sally’s NYC Half post. I knew it was time to get in a longer run and I hadn’t run more than 4 miles in one go since the NYC Half so I decided to run the 5 or so miles from my apartment to the start line. I ended the morning with a 9 miles before I hopped on the train home to start the rest of my Sunday. It’s sometimes hard to get out of bed but I just love early mornings and that feeling of accomplishment of getting things done before most people (including me) have had breakfast. Well technically, my breakfast was the the two shot blocks I had just before the actual race. I didn’t want to start the race already pooped, so I gave Clif’s shot blocks a try and I gotta say, the Margarita flavor is AWESOME. I never knew race fuel could taste so good. Maybe I can use it to fuel my real life….

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Friday Funday

Not gonna lie, this morning was not that fun. After a long and brutal winter, NYC is now plagued by wet, dreary skies constantly threatening to pour and demanding your constant preparedness. It also makes for gray mornings where you just want to stay under the covers. Forever.

I fought the sloth and dragged myself onto the treadmill for another two mile warm up (because that’s my thing now). I switched it up a little this morning though. One mile at 6mph at a 4-4.5% incline because I read somewhere that that’s one way to do speed work without actually running fast (sign me up!!). The second mile was done at 8mph because there is always this girl at the gym in the morning who runs a bajillion miles at 8mph and if she can do it, I GOTTA try. Sheesh it’s always a competition with me, ya know?

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yoga me home

Last week, I happened upon a new gym in my neighborhood and I positively went nuts. I’ve been gym hopping these past few months, from NYSC to Equinox to the dinky gym at my apartment complex. I made this last move because $180 a month just wasn’t working out. The downside was that my dinky apartment gym was seriously bad news. It’s taught me that my excitement for working out goes in hand with how excited I am about my environment. It got so bad that I was missing workouts and I didn’t even mind all that much! So I understandably went nuts when I discovered a huge new gym just steps away from my apt. Check this out:

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And to top it off: my HUGE news-I found a yoga class I actually don’t hate!!

I realize how ridiculous that sounds but it’s a pretty big deal for me. I’m not a big stretcher when I work out and that usually isn’t a problem but when I start running more, I’ve found that my muscles will rebel and pull in weird ways if I don’t stretch. Except I’ve always hated yoga, and I don’t quite know how to stretch on my own so I’m stuck. And I’ve given yoga many many chances. I’ve given a month to bikram, endless class credits to vinyasa and made countless voyages to Yoga to the People. I’ve always left feeling anything but zen and mostly just angry that someone had dripped their gross sweat on my mat. But not today! I ended my hour long class feeling stretchy and 10 times less sore than when I had walked in. Score 1 for yoga! (Finally.)

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operation NYCM2015

My last post was super serious (and I am super not) so on a much much lighter note, here are the highlights:

– I ran my first half marathon!! This was actually my second attempt at a half — last October, I was supposed to run the Diva Half Marathon in Long Island but….. I couldn’t find my passport. So this was it, my first half and I couldn’t have picked a better race, although there were a number of factors that made it a less than ideal race for me. First off, it was 30 degrees. 30. I really should’ve had a stern talk with Mother Nature acting out like this. And second, I was at the peak of the most terrible head cold of all of winter. But despite it, I had a blast and I really wouldn’t change a thing. I decided not to follow a training plan because I’m not that serious a person and I really hate thinking I have to run a set number of miles on a specific day.  It just takes all the fun out of running. I came in at 2:02:49, which I’ll happily take.

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– After the NYC Half, I swore that I would never do more than a race or two per year, and I would NEVER run a marathon. 26.2 miles? I am not that crazy. And then about a week later, my very twisted logic kicked into gear. I logged into NYRR to find that I had sort-of-accidentally signed up for the UAE Kidney 10K (long story, for another time). And since I had already also signed up for the Brooklyn Half, I was going to be 3 races in for the year. The NYRR guaranteed entry for 2015 requires 9 races and 1 volunteer commitment to qualify. So my obvious next thought was, WHAT’S ANOTHER SIX RACES? I must’ve been feeling REALLY ballsy that day because I’m signed up for five more races in the next three months. All this to say, Operation NYCM2014 is a go – starting this Sunday.

-And finally, I’ve decided to blog more to hold myself accountable to my workouts. I’ve also started a photo workout diary to give myself a good push on lazy days. The collage style works two fold – it allows me to delete all the other random sweaty workout selfies I take and the dates help keep me extra accountable.

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