9.33 solo miles

What a gorgeous Saturday!

Although I’m not officially tapering as I’m just using Cherry Blossom as a long run for Brooklyn, I wanted to get “one last long run” in and I knew it had to be this weekend since I’m home next. Brooklyn training has been weird, to be honest. I’m frustrated with the Runkeeper app and can’t fudge Higdon enough to make it work for this schedule, so I’m kind of winging it. Not ideal, but I think it’s going to work. Funny, this time last year I was stressing about training for a 10K.

So without an app/calendar alert to tell me what to run, I knew I could DIY. I was pretty well set on ~9 miles, but wasn’t sure on pushing through on that solo. My prior longest solo run was 7.77 miles (and I still have no idea how I stayed on the treadmill that long). Outdoors? I’m not sure. Probably about 10K. Maybe Rockland Lake since nothing else in my history jumps out at me.

I was ready to try it, so off I went on a variation of the 15K course. It was a beautiful spring day. Slight chill but running in capris, a tee, long sleeve tee and light hat (oddly, same hat as I wore for the 15K) was perfect.

Tomkeeper miles 1-5

That old age about mile one being a liar?
When I saw my watch at the end of mile one I was wondering what the hell happened to my GPS because the only time I’ve seen a sub 10 mile is sprints at Mile High Run Club. When it settled down to “normal” on mile two I figured it was just a blip, and then mile three happened. So I don’t know. I didn’t feel like I was going that quickly even on a downhill mile. Will be interesting to watch the first mile next time. Luckily I start at this spot for most Central Park runs so that’s easy to track. There are way too many overlapping Strava segments to look at it that way.

TomTom 6-9.33

That looked way more normal, especially tiring legs. This is the longest I’ve run since the Fort Lauderdale Half. Over the first eight miles the only things I changed from the 15K course were: starting at E. 84th vs. 102nd, because why walk all the way up there when I could run it, and doing what I wish NYRR did, run the long loop down to the bottom of the park in the first lap, and then have the second lap cut back up at the 72nd Street Transverse.

Mile 6.5-7.5 featured the West Side Rollers and they killed me. Partially a sore achilles but partially just tired. I knew then that there was no way in hell I was doing Cat Hill again so 8-9.33 was a wiggle fest to get in mileage by Conservatory Water. It’s crazy to see all the cherry blossoms in my Facebook memories this week, aside from a few patches of crocuses, Central Park is still hibernating due to a snowy March.

this cracks me up

What exactly is a “very long run”, TomTom?

The difference between TomTom and RunKeeper is how RunKeeper (doesn’t) take into account the auto pause I switched on when someone stopped me for directions. Oh well, 1:40:42 or 1:40:54 isn’t the end of the world. What I realized when the man stopped me at a water fountain, I didn’t stop otherwise. There were no stretch breaks and I didn’t need to stop. That is definitely a first and part of what rendered this a nearly eight minute PR over December. Wow.

speaking of PRs

Not. Even. Close.

I know why Strava sees this as a 10K PR, the one RunKeeper “knows” was a combination of two treadmill stints. But the autopause discrepancy doesn’t account for why RunKeeper doesn’t see this too.

silly Runkeeper

Bizarrely when looking looking further at 10Ks it doesn’t see any of the longer distances. I wonder why it can’t when Strava can. The 5K I’ll write off as the autopause difference.

All in all it felt very good. When I walked home after I was sore, but not horribly so. I had a good foam roll and will take Advil tonight. No running tomorrow.  Music, and mentally writing this post got me through the last coupe miles. A gel, had I remembered to try it, might have done the job too.

I think I’m ready for the Cherry Blossom 10. I’m definitely ready for spring.

Other Notes:

  • a reread of my Rockland Lake run is fun. Today’s run felt some of the same with feeling good, no need to stop. I’m hoping to do that run again next Saturday. V curious if the Poland Spring shirt now fits. I wonder what I can do at the 10K distance which I haven’t done on its own in a while. When left to my own devices, I tend to run 5 miles. I still think I can crack an hour – maybe by year end?
  • Speaking of five miles, I put Wednesday’s snow day to good use and did 5.51 on the treadmill since I had way more time than I typically do on a weekday. Other than batshit boredom, it felt good. It was the first time I tried Gu Chews (3 at start, three at ~5K mark) and I liked them. Orange is a winning flavor. Coupled with Monday’s 3.19, this was a very good week. Friday was a 5K row as there was no money in the world that could get me on the treadmill. Massive case of “do not wanna”. It happens.
  • I finally adjusted my running mileage goal for the year. 780 was based on faulty math, mostly, and I pretty much knew it to be something that would need adjusting once the year started. Because I’d never run a Half, I didn’t know how much time I’d need to recover from those, and I didn’t plan to be injured. Again. Pushing for the numbers required to get 780 is not smart given the hip/knee/feet flares. I’ve dropped it to 700 as one third ish of 2,018 and we’re a three person team for #RunTheYear. The spreadsheet also takes into account the rest days I take, and I need to average 2.68 miles per run day to hit the goal. I should be 539 miles from goal, and I’m 546. I can live with that. Much better than 602, 626. I’m very curious to see where I net out.
    • I’ve doubled my running year to date mileage and have 100+ run/walk mile head start, meaning I think those goals are real.

Run the Date

Distances run three of the last four days:

  • 3.16
  • 3.17
  • 3.19

Notice anything?

No, this has nothing to do with Run the Year, although I’m still participating in that. It has everything to do with training run amok and a desire to at least do something even if run plans end up down the tubes.

While they aren’t enough miles for a long run, they’re an interesting and super gradual ladder. I think they’re going to be my go-to when life happens and the planned run does not.

Speaking of which…


Saturday, in the Park. It wasn’t the fourth of July

Saturday was supposed to be a long run for Brooklyn/Cherry Blossom training. The first plan was to sign up for NYC Runs’ Spring Fling 5 and 10K, but those sold out. Then the plan was to hit Central Park and do ~ the Ted Corbitt course. Picking up new glasses and phone took way longer than they should have, and before I knew it it was nearly 5 and the only reasonable option was to hit the East River Path. I still hadn’t had the chance to try the re-opened path, so I went there.

The path is a mess.

Yes, the new ramp is open and I love that as it’s gradual vs. steep incline, probably to be ADA compliant. It’s going to be perfect for hill repeats and it’s much closer than Cat HIll for that.  However, I still can’t get to the gym because the path is now closed at 72nd. Ugh. And yes, still closed north of 88th so it’s a weird, choppy run. But it’s a run that’s <5m from home which is much easier than Central Park some days.

Some days? Oh, I meant twice in the last three. The plan today was to hit NYRR Run Center, stash my stuff and go run in Central Park. And then I ended up with a meeting in Union Square that ran to 6. I had a head full of “Outside! Gym, do not want you” so decided to see if I could make it work. I zipped home via the eye doctor to have my new glasses adjusted, quickly changed and went back out. I knew I wanted to go if I made that happen (64 steps, sometimes a deterrent). Knew I didn’t have time for Central Park before sunset so I revisited Saturday.

hey! that was a squidge faster

Mile 1 is flat/downhill and mile two has a slight incline. Mile three has the new ramp so I was pleased with that improvement. The last .19 was a mix of watching my footing at dusk and trying to figure out if I’d hit 3.19 as I really couldn’t read the watch at dusk.  I’m really excited about doing hill repeats to improve that. Yeah, who am I?!?!

I’m in a speed improvement rut, that isn’t unexpected. I haven’t been back to Mile HIgh since late January due to changing speeds on treadmill not being knee friendly while it was healing.  It’s not that I’m getting slower, per se, I don’t run the East River often enough to tell, but I’m not getting faster. I’m hoping some focused training will help that as I know what my lungs are capable of. I didn’t feel winded at the end of today’s run at all, which I know means I could have pushed it. I know i”m capable of 10:54 for longer, I just need to figure out how to maintain that when treadmill isn’t.

Speaking of the East River, if we don’t have snowpocalypse #6,372 this week, I think I’m meeting up with the November Project folks since I can’t run after work on Wednesday. I want to do the Team MHRC workouts, but NoHo at 7AM is a challenge. NP? Literally 5m run from home depending on if I hit the lights. It looks like they have a blast, so I think this is spring/summer goal.

Other thoughts:

  • Watching the NYC Half was awesome. I got to our cheering station in time to see the women elite, and get a photo of the men. I don’t yet know what I think of the new course, and not sure I want to do it next year. At the moment I have three of the 4/6 runs on my calendar and think I might be in town for the Bronx 10. We’ll see.
  • Volunteering at the NYRR Run Center for medal engraving yesterday was awesome. It was the late shift so less busy, but great to see smiles on runners’ faces and hear all the languages spoken. We always hear of the marathon as a bucket list race, but it seemed like the Half is too
  • I’ve had this shirt on my mind since Mary Wittenberg wore it for the Women Running panel a few weeks ago. It might have to happen.

Review: Joe Biden’s Promises to Keep

Surprised to find this review here? Me too. I’m still semi surprised to find this book on my Kindle.

I was a late convert to Joe Biden, but quickly fell in love the night Joyful Heart Foundation honored him in 2016. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him as VP-I did- I just don’t have a great love of politics or politicians. Biden was an exception and when I heard he was coming to NYC on his American Promise tour, I knew I had to be there. Promises to Keep is not the book Biden was promoting when I saw him on that tour in November 2007 and while I could say I read this for background, I’d be lying. I just didn’t pay attention to the title of the book I requested from NYPL and it was only as I got toward the end and was still in the thick of the Bush administration I knew there was no way this was going to cover his eight years as Vice President, let alone Beau’s illness and death. Oops.  Still, this was an amazing read.

“Joe Biden represented Delaware for 36 years in the U.S. Senate before serving as 47th Vice President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. As the Vice President, Joe Biden addressed important issues facing the nation and represented America abroad, traveling over 1.2 million miles to more than 50 countries. He convened sessions of the President’s Cabinet, led interagency efforts, and worked with Congress in his fight to raise the living standards of middle class Americans, reduce gun violence, address violence against women, and end cancer as we know it.” ~Goodreads Bio

I went into this book knowing the Biden of the last few years of the Obama administration. I definitely didn’t know he’d run for president in 1988 and I’m not sure I knew of the 2008 campaign either. I still remember “voting” for Dukakis in a mock election in elementary school. On some level I knew how long he’d been in the Senate because I knew the stories of his first wife passing just after the election, but I don’t think I realized just how long he’d been “Senator Biden from Delaware”. As he said, so much has changed in that time.

“Things have changed in my six terms, for better and for worse. I served with the last of the southern segregationists, but I was there to see Carol Moseley Braun and Barack Obama sworn in. There was not a single woman in the Senate in 1973. Today there are sixteen, and one of them has a real shot at the presidency.

I love the storied Senators who he worked with throughout his tenure. Because I didn’t yet realize when he’d written this book, I didn’t realize that the Senator he was talking about was probably Hillary Clinton. While he talked a lot in his intro about the decline in decency, I don’t think I realized how common that was now until I found myself surprised at the degree of bipartisan discussion and debate that marked his time in the Senate. Or how the Bork senate confirmation hearings went. I really like how he interwove his speeches and those of other colleagues in to fill out the stories he recounted in this book.

Part of this book that I found most interesting was how much different campaigning was. I loved the inside look into how he ran for both New Castle County Council and Senator in a time where campaigning was physically much harder. I feel like his sister Val, who ran every one of his campaigns, would make for a fascinating biography.

While the story of how he survived his first wife & daughter’s death is well known, I don’t think his survival of the aneurysm is nearly as well documented. I said to a friend while I was reading this that his wife Jill may be the only reason he’s still with us today, it is truly amazing what he survived in 1972 and again in 2015. I love how this book also included so much about his first wife’s family, and how divisive marrying a Catholic Democrat would have been in the late 1960s, yet Neilia‘s parents supported him and them throughout.

“Neilia’s parents came to town in the last days of the campaign to help out. Actually, Mr. Hunter had been helping all the way. The hardest thing in the campaign, I can say without equivocation, was being able to run and eat. I was getting a little share from my new law firm, but things were tight. Neilia’s father, a good Republican, became a quiet provider for the Joe Biden Jr. family. If we were down to nothing, Neilia would reach in her pocket, and there’d be a hundred dollars. “Where’d you get a hundred dollars, Neilia?!” But I always knew. Her father’s faith in me actually flattered me. Six years after he stood trembling at the door of the Catholic church in Skaneateles, Mr. Hunter was still ready to take a chance on me.”

I am too young to remember Biden’s work in the 1970s and 80s, but he played a key role in one of the international news stories that I followed intently: the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. While I remember the Berlin Wall falling and the fall of communism and the USSR, the Balkans was a major news item throughout high school and college and I followed it closely. Sarajevo to me was what the battles of WWII, Korea and Vietnam were to the older generation. I loved reading about Biden’s meetings with Tito-and later his trips to Afghanistan and what a Senator’s role is in such negotiations.

Because he wrote this on the eve of his 2008 campaign, September 11 (which served as an intro as well) and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were fresh in Biden’s mind. There was a lot from Bush/Cheney/Powell that was news then and is history now… it’s amazing how much ten years and the Trump election could change the lens. With Biden’s disappointment in Bush’s defeat of John Kerry, I can only imagine how he took Trump’s defeat of Clinton.

There’s no question that Biden’s life has impacted American history: his perseverance after Neilia’s death, and his decision not to run for President a third time after Beau’s. Overall, I think we as a society are lucky to have had him in office for so long. This book is a really insightful look at the first thirty years, now I look forward to reading the book I intended to. Two politics books from me in the space of a year? It could happen.

Twice Frozen Penguin

which sounds like I’m a crazy carnivore!

NYCRuns’ Frozen Penguin holds a special place in my heart as my first 5K. So as soon as it was announced, I signed up for today. I realized I’ve only raced four 5Ks and while I’ll probably also repeat one of the other ones (and maybe the other in April), I don’t love the distance for a race. I wasn’t sure this was going to be as fun as last year since it didn’t have the “first” element, but NYCRuns put on a good event and it was a fun crowd of people bouncing around to keep warm. And as much as I love Central Park, sometimes it’s nice to run elsewhere.

Luckily somewhat warmer this year

While still penguin friendly, the temps were luckily a bit warmer this year and I learned you really don’t need to be there an hour early. 25m was still plenty despite this run not having advance bib/shirt pickup.

animatronic penguin

I don’t love the shirt, so I’m not sad they didn’t have the women’s size I wanted. I do like that it’s long sleeved so I can wear it today. Given that I didn’t want to carry it for three miles, I committed the “sin” of wearing it before I earned it. It made for a nice layer as the park was mighty chilly. I’m really glad I grabbed a jacket last minute.


Yep, same jacket I bought for last year

No official photos this year that I’ve found. So just me being requisite silly. Differences between the two photos mostly “lessons learned” in a year of races:

  • a muff is way more practical than an infinity scarf
  • the race giveaway you think you hate is great for runs where you plan to ditch the hat. Except it’s too cold and you keep it on.
  • Belt > clutch to hold on to things
  • I kind of missed my wind pants, my butt was cold while we were waiting. I also missed their pockets, but those hips last year not at all flattering.
    • I don’t look like I lost the weight I have, thank you layers. LOL. Two shirts under that coat and I never did warm up enough to want to take one off.
  • Same flip top mittens. Insane that I didn’t need them in December or January runs but I did in March.
2017 vs. 2018 Penguin

Finished 12 spots closer to the front, but ten and a half minutes faster! And I was much closer to the pack. I ran 99.9% of it, with the walk only in the second water station so I didn’t freeze my chin with ice cold water on a cold day. I didn’t really have a time goal for this one, although I had a few thought starters. I’m happy with the race I ran today though, it was the best possible for me on this day. I’m hoping to get back to Mile High Run Club this week for some speed work, which I know made the difference in recent gains.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how close my watch was to the course markers. I ran 3.13 by the watch, and was in sync until mile 3. Not sure what that was about. Reason I’m using NYCRuns’ timing & distance here vs. usual RunKeeper is last year I didn’t have my watch yet and phone died on course so only had NYCRuns’, so apples to apples ish

Splendiferous splits!


Except when it comes to TomTom splits since NYCRuns’ doesn’t have those. Only timing pad is start/finish. Miles one and three had significant uphills, and the start was crowded/trail segment narrow there so I’m not surprised by any of the splits. Mile two was flat/downhill to the river. Pleased with running the big hills, they’re both steeper than Cat Hill or anything else I do regularly. My knee felt a little weird, so I’ll keep an eye on that. I think it’s fine though, just cold muscle and COLD day.

And then I did something I’ve never done before, I ran after the race. No hot chocolate this year so I got more water and then headed south to the m86 bus. In part because there is no easy/direct way home, but also in part because my legs felt good and I wanted to get a few more miles in. I’m still not sure I’ll ever be that person who does a pile of mileage on top of a race, but this felt good.

As did the hot bath when I got home.

Other Notes:

  • Other runs this week, all at 5.5 speed, .5 incline:
      • 2.29 miles on Monday. I was mentally gassed. That (25m) is the minimum I’m allowed. So I did it and then bailed
      • 2.75 miles Tuesday. Feeling less gassed.
      • 3.21 miles Friday for a dear friend’s 32nd birthday. This felt really, really good. The two days off mid week is a good cycle. Of course I can’t do it this week.
  • Race calendar filled out for spring/summer:
    • March
      • March 17 – haven’t signed up for this but weather-depending I may do NYCRuns’ Spring Fling as a long run for Cherry Blossom as they allow combining of 5 and 10Ks.
      • March 18 – cheering at Team MHRC cheering station and then doing my +1 volunteer slot at the medal engraving station. Indoors in March, yes please.  Yes, I think I might really be going for 9+1 for 2019 😮
    • April:
      • April 8: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
      • April 15 (maybe): Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium depending on how my legs feel after Cherry Blossom
    • May:
      • May 19: Brooklyn Half
    • June: oh, busy bee!
      • June 3: Italy Run 5M
      • June 9: New York Mini 10K
      • June 16: Queens 10K (“free”, thanks New Balance Rewards)
      • June 23: Front Runners New York LGBT Pride Run 5M
      • June 24: Achilles Hope & Possibility 4M. (I love the work of Achilles. If my legs aren’t up for this after the one prior I’ll walk it. Can’t not support it).
    • July:
      • July 28: NYRR Team Championships 5M
    • August:
      • August 5: Manhattan 7 Miler
July will probably pick up a couple more, just depends on vacation. But if these all stick, I’ll have my 9 in. EEK!


#GoTheDist February 2018 and Training week of 2.25

I wasn’t kidding when I said I didn’t think I’d hit 400K this month. It was looking like an impossibility and I only pulled it off on the last day of the month thanks to two insane days on Monday and Tuesday.


  • 405,707 steps
  • 177.6 miles run/walked
  • 50.54 miles run

Year to Date

  • 858,290 steps
  • 375.45 miles run/walked
  • 107.04 miles run

I was so happy to hit 100 solo miles last weekend. My knee is finally feeling better. Even though I’m almost twenty miles off the 780 pace, I’m not going to adjust it down yet. Spring will mean more time to run and not being injured will allow longer runs. I gave back some of January’s gains, but that’s also to be expected with a shorter month, so I’m not particularly worried. March has always been good to me.

the realization that my first 400K month was in reach

A year of 400K months is pretty awesome and insane. I’m really happy it worked out.

A big part of that? Running this week. My knee felt good and I even managed to shed the brace. Workouts:

  • Sunday: off day
  • Monday: 2.28 miles at random incline. Tired legs, but no knee pain at all. I might have resorted to all caps there. This was the first time that happened since my first half
  • Tuesday: knowing I was off Wednesday and Thursday due to plans, I went longer. 4.07 miles at 5.5. Kept it at .5 incline since I know changing speeds and inclines hasn’t helped
  • Friday: decided to try without the knee brace and again kept it at 5.5 and .5 incline. NO PAIN. Distance was a factor of time (not wanting to push it), but I spotted this when I went to log it in my spreadsheet. WOW. What a difference a year makes
year on year
  • Saturday dawned dry and warm enough to run outside. I’ve only managed that a handful of times this year and while I don’t mind the treadmill, who doesn’t want to play outside? 5+ miles wiggling around Central Park. Could have gone longer, but decided to play it safe. If I’d realized how close I was to an hour, I’d have gone the extra ninety seconds. Knee a little sore so probably right call. I’m going to take tomorrow off.

In the US Road Running Facebook group someone asked how much we’d lost since beginning running. Running hasn’t been about weight loss for me, but it has definitely helped.

Jan 7, 2017 v. March 2, 2018, scale edition


Baby steps all around this month. On to the next