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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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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