Super Sunday: 5K PR edition

so as I left the Weekly Wrap, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to run or not. I actually did want to run, but was questioning whether two days completely off would be smarter for my knee’s healing. Despite changing into my running clothes as soon as I got home, I was using that as an excuse to sit on the couch and catch up on email after a few days away. I’ve had my new phone since March and haven’t put email on it-and don’t miss it. So much clutter.

I was less than one thousand steps short of my Fitbit goal and after a few off days due to rain, being in suburbia I really wanted to hit it. So I decided to head to the East River Promenade and just do the top level/Finley Walk loop which is about a mile and see how I felt mentally and physically.  I knew once I got going, I’d go. Oh the mental games we play.

it was such a beautiful evening

I turned south to get the full distance of the upper loop and as soon as I got there, I decided I did want to head south toward 59th street. My knee felt good on the downhill ramp and despite being absolutely gorgeous out, it wasn’t too crowded so I wasn’t forced to play a game of dodg’em. I was pleased to see the first mile come in sub 11:00 after Friday morning’s molasses crawl. The (relative) lack of humidity made a huge difference.  I decided I’d see how mile two came in before deciding whether I’d go for the 5K PR or just a three-four mile run.

Have a 6m mile, and then a 116m one!

Dear TomTom, please find your brain.

Mile 2 coming in at 9:33 might be a little generous, but it didn’t feel ridiculously off. I’ve had that happen before and since mile two was completely flat along the lower promenade between 60th and 81st streets, I think it’s possible that it was right.  I had mentioned in a comment to Charlie that my watch had been having issues, but this is the first time it was bouncing all over with no scaffolding or other issue that I’d expect to cause it.  I guess it’s time to start planning for a watch upgrade. I’ve gotten so used to the music on my TomTom and I don’t imagine that’s going to be an easy to find, affordable option. Any particular watch favorites? I have a Fitbit I use for daily steps, just looking for something to track runs with so size less of an issue.

I knew mile three would drop off because it has the 450 feet-long ramp back up to Finley Walk, but it felt good and I felt strong as I headed around Gracie Mansion toward Asphalt Green. I couldn’t believe it when the watch beeped three miles at 10:26 and I knew I was close. I pushed hard for the last .13 (Strava math) and couldn’t believe it when I saw my watch.

WOW!

BAM!

The original plan was to re-start the watch and run home, but the magic hour sky was perfect and I wanted to spy on the Ferry construction so I opted for a longer walking cool down during which I contemplated the run.

is that a ferry dock I spy?
guess it’s not opening this summer

I still had 32:16 on the brain and thought this was a four second PR, but I realized when I got home & could sync watch that it (actually 32:15) was for 3.08. WOW. It turned out that 32:41 was the actual “check in” 5K for July. Strava actually was a little too generous with 32:04 running time, crediting me for the water fountain pit stop.  I’m going with RunKeeper’s 32:11/10:18 pace. I didn’t even get in the full month of speed training that I wanted due to the PF flare and subsequent fall, but this is a-ma-zing. Sub 30 is still a long-term dream, but I’m thinking I may even get below 32 by summer’s end depending on whether I can do speed training in August. Even if I don’t, I’m super happy with how this speed training whim turned out.

Like the Riverside Park run, I loved that this speed/pace happened outside because while I don’t think there’s an unfair advantage in treadmill running, it’s definitely easier to maintain your pace indoors. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the East River path that stems back to it being the first place I ever ran outdoors, so that the PR happened here was extra special. As I mentioned in Charlie’s post on PRs, I count runs as well as races. This is especially true for 5Ks since they’re so relatively rare as races.

Since the check-in 5K was on the treadmill, the plan for tomorrow is to run 5K there and see what speed comes of it. I’m excited for what the balance of 2018 will bring.

 

 

 

Walking through MLB history and listening to my body, week of 7.23

Definitely light on the running this week as I recovered from my trip and slide. On other notes:

  • The Sarah Marie Design Studio shirt came and I was initially excited to see it’s a Bella Canvas shirt as I love that material. However the shirt is cut really small and I’m kind of disappointed. I suppose it’s an aspirational shirt like the idea of maybe running a marathon. ETA: whee, I heard from the store & they’re willing to do an exchange.
  • I read Andrew Kastor’s Running Your First Marathon and found it a really interesting read. The mileage in his plan is way too high for me as is the running frequency, but I liked how he set up the training with general advice, suggestions and tips from the elite athletes he knows.  The first half of the book is good for any runner and it puts the training schedule in context. If I opt to run New York I will almost certainly do a modified Hal Higdon novice as I did for my Half
  • Major League Baseball ghosts live on in the South Bronx and Upper Manhattan. More on that below.

Weekly recap, with Holly and Wendy:

  • Monday: Wanted to test the knee and it was mostly OK. I went a smidgen more than a mile. Could I have gone further? Probably, but thought it wise not to push it. Non stop rain this week and this being the knee I had surgery on years ago is a bad combination even before Saturday’s fall, so I’m not worried.
  • Tuesday: tried to run, but knee wasn’t having it. Was regretting not wearing my brace earlier. I decided to try my old friend the Lateral X as it did me well in January’s injury window. I was pleasantly surprised that the knee was fine-the side to side wasn’t the issue so much as the jarring impact on the treadmill. Also, my right arm was OK on the arms although I’d initially planned to hold the stationary handles.  I remember it feeling super hard in January, but 1.55 miles in 25 minutes was very manageable and felt like a good workout. I tried to row, but my arm (somewhat) and busted middle and pinkie fingers (mostly) made it impossible. Surprisingly, the arm cycle/upper body erg had a different grip and I tried that. Wow, that’s an insane workout.
  • Wednesday: still raining. Needed a day off from the gym to give the knee a break so I walked home via my favorite mural. An unexpected upside of making the gym a major routine is it has forced me to leave the office at more reasonable times than had otherwise been my habit. Without that impetus? I was there until 7:30.
  • Thursday: I’d signed up for this 5K a few weeks ago when I finally registered for the Retro. I was bummed to miss it last year, but even before the fall I wasn’t as excited about this race as I expected to be. There was a thought toward racing this, which went 90% out the window when I fell and 100% nope when the weather ended up as mid 80s with 65% humidity. Yuck. I initially thought I’d miss the office run group, but the time worked out such that I could do half of their lap (stupid watch not behaving!) before heading up to the start. The 5K course was weird, W. 91st to E. 102nd via 72nd. Odd to have a course that isn’t a loop in some form, but there really is no 5K course in Central Park. I didn’t even make it from 72nd up to the start before deciding to walk because I just was not feeling the West Side Rollers.

Uncharacteristically for me, I sat on the curb in the corral and didn’t stretch but instead tried to talk myself up. I was tired, hot, and did not want to run. A text from a friend hatched a plan for us both to walk it, but we couldn’t find one another in the corrals so I figured I’d just see how I felt before turning left on 72nd Street because I ultimately needed to head back south to get my bag.

What happened after my oh so wonderful staggered start? I went out way too quickly with a 10:00/10:08 first mile. Even downhill/rolling that was ridiculous for the humidity and I paid for it in mile two, which had Cat Hill and a water stop. I sort of picked it back up in mile three, but not really. Strava says 36.06 and 3.28 for 10:58, NYRR says 36.06 for 3.1 (LOL!) for 11:37, RunKeeper says 36.06 and 3.29 for 10:59. It’s an NYRR 5K PR and a course PR. Do I care that it’s 3m off the Frozen Penguin? Not really. I went from not racing this to not running a smart race and it was what it was. Amusing that I was wearing my Run 4 the Warriors shirt as I felt somewhat the same as that race. Not great, but could have been worse if not for some self inflicted wounds. I had a popsicle at the end, enjoyed Central Park in twilight/dusk and headed to the office to freshen up before heading home to mom’s for a long weekend.

  • Friday: company coming so wanted to get in a quick run before they did. I was insanely sore from the bus’ over air conditioning and not having properly stretched after the 5K and it was already 90% humidity at 8:15. I wanted no part of the trail so I headed out along the riverside road for a stretch and meander. It felt good to get it done, even if it was pokey pokey. The rest of Friday and Saturday was spent with my godson and his little sister as well as their parents. Kid wrangling should definitely be a sport. The Norwalk Aquarium was a ton of fun!
MLB History
  • Sunday: I took the long way home. For years since the Brush Staircase re-opened and again when the High Bridge followed, I’ve talked about walking the Bronx/Upper Manhattan portion of New York baseball history. Today, it finally happened. My friends were going to the Yankees game and although I wasn’t joining them, I rode with them to the stadium where the plan was to catch the 4 train home. When the day dawned beautiful and lacking the expected humidity, I decided to walk across Macombs Dam Bridge and then decide how I wanted to get home.

About halfway across, I remembered the baseball history idea and decided to hit Brush Staircase at the minimum. As I was navigating my way around construction on W. 155th and the Polo Grounds Towers to get up to the base of the stairs (“up” to the base, yes. Sea level to Coogan’s Bluff is 175 feet!) I remembered there was supposedly a marker for the approximate location of the Polo Grounds’ home plate. Luckily my phone wasn’t totally dead so I made use of the PoloGrounds’ entry on Ballpark Chasers and the Historical Markers database and still proceeded to walk past it twice before figuring out what I thought was the route. The stairs gave me a brief respite between the second and final tries to decide whether I really wanted to pursue this. In the end, I decided to because I still needed to get home in some form.

When I walked out of the complex, I laughed because I realized it was almost exactly a straight line back from the 155th St. Station on the B/D line. Oh well, I got a lot of steps and baseball memories in the process. It was absolutely worth the time to find it. The Towers’ complex is relatively busy, but the top of the stairs is on a quiet, residential street and you can just sit there and listen to the ghosts. Such a magical piece of New York’s sports history! If you want some great photos of the old stadium, DeadBaseball has you covered.

This stretch from High Bridge Park to home is brutal and boring and my bag was getting heavy so I got the M2 bus home. Still debating whether I’m going for a run today, three hours after I sat down “just to charge my watch!”. Story of my life. At least my running clothes are on. Overall, a good if not great week. Feel recovered from the fall & think PF flare is gone.

 

Plan for this week:

I don’t have one, oops!  I thought my 7M run was Saturday, but it’s Sunday. I hope it’s cooler. I’m probably not ready as I’ve not done more than 5 miles since the end of June, but it is what it is.  Plan at the moment is to run either Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Sunday or Monday/Wednesday/Thursday/Sunday. Since it looks like this is going to be a gym week due to rain, I’m hoping to do the check out run to see how my July speed training went. August has a lot of travel and I think I need to focus on planning those runs vs. my haphazard summer schedule. Also, where did July go? We’ll see if today’s run happens and go from there. ETA: I ran. I PRed. More later this week

Upcoming races:

Linking up with Deb:

pretty much the same as last month, but I did add the New Balance 10 Miler so I get automatic registration for the NYC Half next year via the Four of Six program. I don’t love the Half course, but I had major FOMO this year when I cheered it, so decided to get the guaranteed entry and decide when registration opens if I want to do it. I think so. I have the Fort Lauderdale Half booked again for Feb 2019 but I’m torn on whether I’ll repeat Lebow or do Shape (same course) in April. Decisions, decisions.

Officially a runner! (Week of 7.15)

What makes someone officially a runner? Ask ten people, get ten answers: Running a certain distance/pace; (not) running on the treadmill in bad weather, etc. My answer? Falling. So yes, after 18+ months running, I am a runner. I might even say I’m a blogger with three posts this week!

Just minding my business, when the trail jumped up and bit me!

I’m fine. More on that later

Weekly wrap, linking up with Wendy and Holly, who were up to some wonderful mischief in Chicago this weekend:

  • Sunday: was supposed to be a rest day, but after a quick cameo at Bastille Day where it was too humid/crowded (I can barely cope with my own sweat; I don’t want anyone else’s touching me!) to stay long, I was antsy. I also knew that Tuesday’s schedule meant I wouldn’t even get to the gym so I should really move my rest day there. I knew I shouldn’t run, but walking to nowhere on the treadmill drives me bonkers so I decided to row. Although the time wasn’t wow, it was a good workout. When I’m at the good (read: cool) gym the stretch area and TVs are right in front of the rowers. The TV isn’t a major distraction but people doing all sorts of strength training is. Some of their workouts are intimidating, but some make me curious. I think I still have a free training session from joining that I really should explore. I had enough steps from Bastille Day and erranding that a Target run (to the only one that doesn’t sell k-cups!) got me over goal and then I stopped at LaMia and actually ate in. I really wanted to finish my book and there are just too many distractions at home, so win win.
  • Monday: I may or may not have tried to drink my weight in water. I generally don’t worry too much about water because I drink pretty regularly throughout the day. It’s especially easy at work because we have an amazing Blupura machine from which I can get an infinite supply of sparkling water. That machine, and the office providing free seltzer is what finally got me to kick the soda habit almost completely (you can pry my diet root beer from my cold, dead hands). Even before and subsequently accounting for the weekend’s sushi and pizza, I was feeling particularly puffy and thirsty so I made a concentrated effort to drink. By 4P it was definitely alternating water refills with bathroom breaks. I’m not sure whether this mild dehydration was to blame or whether it was the heat, already being hungry on the way to the gym or something else, but it was one of those runs that just went nowhere. I pushed as far as I could doing 5.5/6.3 intervals, but at 1.8ish I side cramped and felt all the water sloshing. Enough was enough, so I walked a bit longer and then had a good stretch. I’m not worried about this being a sign of bad, just one of those days, and a reminder to watch the water.
the great Gabriel Allon..err.. Daniel Silva
  • Tuesday: planned off day. My favorite author’s new book came out and I went to the signing. More on that here. It was raining so hard and there was a funnel cloud (!) over the harbor, that step goal didn’t even happen. As it was Prime Day, I did treat myself to a Kindle Fire 8. A local run buddy speaks highlight of catching up on the DVR while on the treadmill, and since I can’t seem to go more than 10K on treadmill without a distraction and am half a season or more behind on the shows I “watch”, it might hit the spot. Any things I should be sure not to miss with it? Already have a Kindle and used to have an iPad, so this isn’t wholly new to me.
  • Wednesday: knew it was going to be an active day as my office had its staff outing at Coney Island (screw the Mouse, Coney is forever my happiest place on earth!) It was a beautiful day to be at the beach for a visit to the aquarium and lunch on the roof at Kitchen 21. I got a little sunburnt/generally overheated and decided crosstraining better than running, so I got in a 5K row and good stretch.
and this is (part of) why I’ll never leave this neighborhood
  • Thursday: office run group a casualty of summer schedules. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to run outside, but when I got to NYRR Run Center, there wasn’t a locker to be found. Instead I quickly headed home to change and was treated to this sun-kissed route for 3.5 miles. Foot & energy felt good, was glad to go end to sort of end, although there’s construction around Asphalt Green. Rumor has it the ferry dock at E. 90th will be open at summer’s end which I hope means the walkway will be open up until at least the pedestrian bridge. Could I have gone longer? Probably, but playing it conservative with foot and no run longer than seven miles until the end of September. I’m going to come in below July’s mileage, but I’m OK with that.
  • Friday: off day as I was out of town most of it, and with a long train ride finished It’s Just Four Times Round the Village, which was a fascinating look at the running career of a novice runner.
Horizontal Runner: unlocked

Saturday/Sunday: up at mom’s this weekend and headed out to do 4-6 miles on this trail including the southern spur I found Easter weekend. The Esposito trail is wide and graded, the Hader Park segment is…not. In some places due to spring rains it’s barely even single track. I was just over two miles in, including a stint to go buy a bottle of water, when my toe met a rock. At first I thought I was going to catch myself, but my center of balance was off and I kissed the trail. Someone else quickly came over to see whether I was OK, and after taking in my arm and leg, I realized I was. And then I paused my watch. Nothing was broken, I was just mighty scraped up. I started to walk after pouring out my water bottle on the worst of the dirt but then realized I could run and so I did. I was texting mom to find out if she had bandaids and bacitraicin and she offered to come get me, but I was close to home and running was honestly fine.

I had a shower and mom helped me clean up the worst of the road rash and I messaged Liz who I knew would appreciate the fall after her own a few weeks ago. She introduced me to a friend of hers named Greg who awarded me the wonderful badge above. My brother, sister-in-law and their two kids were down so we headed to the park. The day’s cross training consisted of walking there and scooting back as my brother carried my nephew’s scooter. I really think both activities contributed to my leg not being stiff and not particularly sore save for a few lightly bruised spots. My arm definitely bore the brunt of my fall making me doubly glad I didn’t break a bone.

I’m glad I’m pretty sure I can run as rowing is definitely out this week as are kettlebells/planks. My right shoulder/upper arm is sore from the landing (just sore, not anything to worry about) and, as you can see above, my elbow is swollen due to the bruising/scrapes and a little tender. If I end up needing to go elliptical, I won’t use the arms.

This Week’s Plan:

  • Monday, see how I feel at the gym
  • Thursday, NYRR R-U-N 5K. Was supposed to be the test of my speed work but between the foot and the fall, I may not push it. We’ll see. Will be a nice evening in the Park at the least.

 

Review: Daniel Silva’s The Other Woman

rockstar!

How did I spend Prime Day?

Feeling like a rock star because somehow book signings have become a place that require wristbands. Epitome of nerd cool. Because I knew I had a long train ride to and from  our staff outing on Wednesday, I made the decision not to get Allon for my Kindle and as a consequence I had to wait until I headed down to the Union Square Barnes & Noble to get my grubby hands on a copy 😮 I’m glad I headed down there early as it was more crowded than I expected.

in my grubby hands!

I usually go to both Silva & Linda Fairstein’s book signings at Barnes & Noble (and shamefully, probably the only visits to Barnes & Noble), but I’m pretty sure this is my first “Exclusive Edition” and I can’t honestly say I noticed anything different to prior titles. I quickly started to read and wasn’t too sad when Daniel Silva’s social media person mentioned he was on his way but running late.

After an introduction to the book and its relationship to the current state of affairs, Silva took questions from the audience. This is almost always the first stop on his book tour for each new release and it was a sea of friendly and mostly familiar faces who asked him questions about the series, the book, the eventual movie and more. They then quickly re-set the stage for him to sign the books. I was behind someone in line who brought a few from the backlist. Although I’m not much of a hard cover (or even hard copy) person, there’s something magic about the smell of books.

the great Gabriel Allon..err.. Daniel Silva

It was soon my turn and I’m still amused that he told me to “say cheese”. The great Gabriel Allon should not say “cheese”.  I thanked him for his time and the creation of Allon and headed home to read.

Here there be spoilers. Dragons maybe, but mostly spoilers.

Continue reading “Review: Daniel Silva’s The Other Woman”

TOTR: Running on Vacation

It’s funny, even though I’ve “met” so many fun folks via the Weekly Wrap, new linkups still give me blogger newbie nerves. I was just going to comment on Darlene’s post, but then that comment was turning into an essay and I decided to make it a post. Plus, the theme is travel: how could I not with the roots of this blog!

Running on vacation, yes or no. For me it’s a definite yes as running has become a big part of who I am in the last eighteen months. This is the biggest difference between other forms of exercise which I was happy to use vacation as an escape from. Thanks, Strava, for this walk down memory lane

Linking up with: Erika at MCM Mama, Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and Patty at No Guilt Life.

2017:

It was a decision I had to face early on in my running “career” when I took a vacation to Iceland and Amsterdam in mid-February 2017. While there wasn’t enough daylight to run outdoors in Iceland, I made it to the gym on two occasions after days spent sightseeing. Amsterdam was a very walk/runnable city and I probably could have run outdoors, if I didn’t use every inch of daylight for sightseeing. While some of this could be attributable to newbie excitement, I couldn’t imagine not running in this week. It was also a good way to help deal with the jetlag.

The next time I had to face it was on a trip to Southern California in May. I got both a beachside and clifftop run in and then explored my host’s neighborhood in my first real experience running at altitude. This was a great way to get some activity in on a trip that featured a lot of car time.

July brought my first international outdoor runs, which was also my first time needing to work runs around a business trip. I could get in a morning warmup and then explore old Montreal, where my hotel was. This was a great way to get in some me time during a fully packed conference and balance out some indulging meals. Plus riverside in Montreal made the summer weather easier to cope with.

August featured humid runs at the beach (some cut short by running in a “forbidden” area) and running at altitude. Also, a quickie to experience a new state (to which I subsequently returned). I can honestly say I never factored in hotel fitness centers prior to this trip. I’d hope they had one, but didn’t worry about kind or quantity of treadmill(s).

Even when not on vacation but just outside my normal comfort zone, I found new places to explore and get in some exercise. And I didn’t let holidays keep me from running.

2018:

2018 brought a new to me kind of vacation: the run-cation. Not only was I running on vacation, but I traveled for the express purpose of running!

sunrise over the Atlantic, along A1A

When I went to Florida for the A1A Half Marathon, I also had my first experience with running out of water on a hot run. Twice. Who said vacations aren’t educational? I also joined a hotel fun run to further acclimate to humidity. It was a good balance to the rest of the long weekend spent lazing by the pool with a book or six.

Cheese ball! So glad for the heat wrap

Next up? Washington DC for the iconic Cherry Blossom 10 miler. While in Florida I didn’t sight see but had to take care this trip not to walk my feet off before the race. Race day ended up being a 50k step day because I walked the tidal basin after to keep from stiffening up.

May brought 108 degree business travel, so I was grateful for a well-furbished hotel fitness center. I continued to squeeze in runs, chase a PR and stretch before the redeye home. Other activity that trip included a walk at the south rim of the Grant Canyon. Is a business trip really vacation? I count it because it’s out of my routine. Later in May was a long road trip where I explored before we headed east to Palm Springs (warm, but scenic) and subsequently back west to Santa Monica. One day I’ll have a decent pace on the beach, but so many photos. Don’t regret a single one. Running is a great way to see a new area.

So far I’ve run outdoors in: New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Washington D.C., and Montreal and indoors in: Wyoming, South Dakota, Arizona, Iceland, and Amsterdam. In the near future I hope to enjoy outdoor runs in Vermont, London. I like using running as an avenue to visit new places. Sometimes the cities are the draw, other times the races are.

What’s your favorite place that you’ve run?

 

 

#NYRRRetro and week of 7.8

Not a full running week, but the foot felt good and I really think my body is not meant to do regular back to back days.  Lungs, sure. Legs, no, not yet. I’m OK with that. I really do need to find another long run before August’s Manhattan 7 Miler although I think speed work is the right thing for me right now not to over tax my foot. In the mean time, I set a rough goal for the Retro 4 Miler and was pleased to almost exactly nail it. Plus, it felt good to have a race again.

Weekly wrap with Wendy and Holly:

  • Monday: oh what a Monday staring down a five day work week. I wanted to do some speed work, but also listen to my foot. I ended up doing a variation of this Friday‘s workout. Shorter, but nearly 20 seconds / minute faster as I went 5.5, 6.2, 5.5, 6.3 with .05 miles of 3.3 after each 6+ interval. The first 6.3 was for .3 miles and the second .28 as I closed out. Could I have gone to 3.5? Probably, but smarter not to push my foot, and the gym was disgustingly hot. This was a nice rebound after Saturday’s struggle, and it was good to see that a number of us struggled despite beautiful weather.  What I realized as I was doing these quarter mile intervals, it’s essentially repeating a coupe weeks of C25K, but with the “walk” being a 5.5 mile jog. Whoa. Plus side of speed intervals being what they are, I show myself I can do a sub 10m mile even if I can’t (yet) sustain it.
Books books books
  • Tuesday: have I mentioned lately that I’m a bookworm? 🙂 NYRR Run Center is hosting a book giveaway from the Runners’ World archives and I went to the preview when I went to pick up my bib/shirt for the Retro. I think I showed remarkable restraint, but I also know I’ll probably go back a couple three times. It was fun to see titles over time.  I subsequently headed across town to the better air-conditioned gym for a 5K row followed by some planks. Intrigued by Running on Happy’s 5M plank challenge, maybe this fall.
  • Wednesday: knew I couldn’t get to the gym after work and wanted to get something in so I planned on a run before work. Unfortunately my snooze button was all too close. I didn’t get out as early as I’d have liked, but it was better than nothing. To be honest, it was already so warm and humid, I’m not sure I’d have gone longer even if I had more time. Luckily I did have time to roll both of my feet before work since I found my original PF ball after I replaced it. The afternoon brought a follow-up appointment with the dermatologist. The mole biopsy was all clear and she doesn’t think it will scar. I care way more about the former than the latter.
I bought myself a present
  • Thursday: week two for our office running group. Up to five this week and the experienced runner decided he was going to pace us. That was awesome, since I generally fail at consistency when outdoors. We did the entire lower loop, even if my watch didn’t. Since my foot felt good and I wanted more mileage I did some intervals at the gym before a really good, long stretch. 5.5, 6.2, 5.5, 6.4, 5.5, 6.3 with 7.0 at the final tenth to close out. The walk breaks after each speed interval were down to .05 miles. I was really shocked at being able to sustain 6.4 over a quarter of a mile. Knock wood, speed training is going well and I think maybe just maybe I’ll break 32m at the end of July. I was home catching up on some reading and I saw Ali on the Run’s post about the Sarah Marie Design Studio shirt, which I’ve loved since I saw Mary Wittenberg wear it for a panel. I still have no idea if I want to run a marathon ever (more on that later!), but I love the dominance of women in the sport, and a soft, purple t-shirt? Winning. I’ve purged a lot of tee shirts, and I still have too many, but I love this for post-run relaxation.

 

what a beautiful summer evening
  • Friday: knee a little sore, so what was going to be a cross training day turned into a day off ahead of Saturday’s race. It’s not an injury, or rather not a new injury but an old injury that occasionally says hi and reminds me not to push it. So I listen. Rather than going to the gym I went back up to NYRR to have them do the fancy lacing that I can never quite get right and of course hit up the book giveaway one more time. Not much left by then. After a quick and fruitless shopping trip to try and buy some new shorts, I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge (rest day wasn’t going to be a step fail) and settled in with a good book or three. We’re not going to talk about that milkshake. Delicious, tracked and moved on. Just before sunset I hopped on the ferry for some gorgeous views. Walking the bridge was partially steps, but there’s also just no easy way between boroughs sometimes. Not taking a train on a gorgeous summer day? Winning.
Retro silliness. Never met a photo booth I didn’t love

Saturday: race day! I truly mean the exclamation point for the first time in a while. Part of the issue I was struggling with in June was straight up tiredness. I was dreading the early wake ups (love how Cuckoolemon put it re: purchasing wake up calls!) and that was part of what made me not excited about weekend after weekend of race. Being sick didn’t help. But with two weekends off racing, I was ready for and excited by the Retro, in part because I did and loved it last year. Really interesting to go back and read some of that. Especially the post-race gimpy walk home which turned out to be the start of my PF battle. Oh how I hope this year’s marked the end.

The first race in Central Park since it closed to cars featured an awesome pace car which I got a great view of as I ran to the start. While I do not like the staggered start at the foot of Cat Hill, I love the easy run to the start as a warm up. I was running late so I only had about 10M before the start, which was fine. I’m also kind of over the “turn and high five your neighbor” forced nonsense, especially pre coffee. Not as many super crazy costumes as last year, although I saw more toward the end. I really wanted to wear my School House Rock t-shirt like I did the tootsie roll pop last year (whoa, the weight I’ve lost in my face!) but it was just too gross to contemplate cotton.

Cat Hill was a surprising non event. I don’t even remember any feelings running up it, and I was glad to hit the first sprinkler and water stop at the top. Although it was only mid 70s, the humidity was about the same. Oddly it felt like 102nd St. Transverse took forever to come and as a result of mile two not having any hills or water stops, it was my best.  Come the water break on the transverse, I not only walked I stopped to get two cups. The first of the West Side up hills was bad, but then I settled into a weather-appropriate pace and just went. Overall it was a fairly steady race. Strava doesn’t show it because of its rounding, but it was .1 over for me (and many per IG photos) due to the angles in the park, but it seemed like a large number of people were complaining about this. It’s a 4M, not a Boston Qualifier, I think a little chillax is in order.

My goal was to come in between the Gridiron (43:08) and Achilles (47:23) and ideally around 45m. By my watch/RunKeeper, 4.10/44:49 for 10:56. By NYRR, 44:47 for 11:12. BAM! Still using Runkeeper since that’s where everything is, but I’m happy. Gridiron was in perfect conditions, and I was sick for Achilles. Mile two showed the effects of the recent speed work and this fall I will do hill work, I swear.

At the post-race festivities I enjoyed some flavor ice and general silliness. And then this happened

9+1! Eek!!

I have absolutely no idea if I want to train for a marathon, but I have until January to decide if I want to claim my guaranteed entry. I’m leaning yes: it’s New York, it will be the eve of my 40th birthday, but I’m just not sure if I have marathon training in me. I’m glad to have 9+1 settled so relatively early in the year so I have time to think on it. It’s crazy to realize that I’ve run nine NYRR races; one NYCRuns, one charity, and two out of town races. 13 races in slightly more than half a year, wow. And yes, running in shorts. I actually haven’t worn capris since Achilles. I know, what took me so long.

splendid saturday evenings

Rest of day was good, if lazy. Took myself out for sushi and then sat by the East RIver to finish one book and start another. And my cotton tee shirt tradition of wearing it post-race. None of these is #20BooksOfSummer or the NYRR finds, but my annual permission between Memorial and Labor Day to read fluff. This seems to be the year, or at least the week, of catching up on James Patterson. And new Gabriel Allon comes out Tuesday, can’t wait!

All in all, a good week and one that I’m happy with. Taking today off although I may go to the gym to stretch when done with a work event. Plan for the week: run Monday, Thursday, Friday or possibly Monday, Wednesday, Thursday depending on Wednesday work event. No races next weekend.

 

A healthy mix, week of 7.1

As I left the recap last week, I was leaning toward not running on Sunday. Could I have? I think so. Would it have been a good idea? Probably not. Listened to my body, and the foot is feeling so much better. Really hope I nipped the PF flare in the bud. Also spent some time Tuesday shoe shopping.

The latest New Balance I have just don’t wear the same way the prior two pair of Vongo2s did even though they’re only ~90 miles in. I think they’re part of the PF flare. So I went to the New Balance Hub at NYRR and then JackRabbit in case New Balance are no longer the right shoe for me. JackRabbit tested me and said they, or a hideous Adidas were, so I’m sticking with the Vongo. The 3 is out (and I love the purple!) but they’re not worth a $35 premium so I got a new pair of black Vongo2s and may relegate the coral ones to walking/cross training and donate the original hot pink ones. The clerk told me the 8.5 was too small after scanning my feet, and after Saturday’s run I actually felt that with summer swelling. I guess it may be 9 for me for summer and 8.5 at other times?

Weekly Wrap

with Wendy and Holly:

  • Sunday: didn’t make it into last week’s as I posted before heading out. I went to the gym and decided while I could run, I shouldn’t. So I did a 5K row and 3.1 mile recumbent ride. Still cracks me up how some machines are metric and others not. Rowing is still my favorite cross train as it feels like a full body workout. I really need to do it more often. Although I don’t find the recumbent to be as solid as a workout as I did pre running, it was still good. From there I headed to the splashpark near the Intrepid because it was just too hot to be anywhere else. I played like a kid, read a bit before heading back home. Summer days are the best.
  • Monday: I did a short run just to test my foot and while I thought it was OK, I decided better not to push it so I rowed again, 2K this time because the Bryant Park branch of my gym does not have nearly high powered enough air conditioning. Then had a quick date with my old injury friend the LateralX, which has a built in fan. Followed this with a good stretch and a kettlebell workout. I’d gone to do some errands at lunch so my steps didn’t suffer too much for a lack of run.
  • Tuesday: I felt ready to run. We had a half day at work so I headed to the well air conditioned gym as it was still approximately 900,000 degrees out. I decided I was going to run by feel and not overdo it on the foot. It ended up as a hybrid of intervals and fartlek with varying speeds and intervals. The foot mostly felt fine and despite the amazing AC, I was a happy sweatball.

    Sweaty McSweatFace
  • Wednesday: Complete off day. Did not even hit my step goal.  I went to the Yankees/Braves game with friends and then walked to the park to enjoy this beautiful show . Staking out a good spot early killed a couple hours that could have been used for a walk, but a break was good.
  • Thursday: first ever run with our office run group. We’ve been talking about it for some time, but finally got it on the calendar once summer schedules eased up. It was only three of us this week due to July 4th holidays and I thought that was a perfect start. One was an experienced marathoner and two of us were relatively new to running. We headed into Central Park to the familiar lower loop and we were off. Luckily it was less humid than it had been, but I was still struggling and couldn’t quite work out why until the lead runner needed to slow. We started at a 9:15 mile or so! So no, wasn’t struggling at my normal pace. Whew. I was surprised I was able to keep this up, to be honest. We walked some and then the lead runner was off again. Luckily for me, she couldn’t sustain that and we walked it in. I’m not sure how it’s going to work if it ends up being a larger group regularly, but I’m looking forward to doing this again. As the one who knows the route the best, I don’t mind being left behind if I’m the slowest. It was also a nice way to get to know two relatively new colleagues.
Row Row Row your PR!
  • Friday: knew I was planning a longer run Saturday and didn’t want to run three days in a row on the foot, so I decided it was going to be a cross train day. I was feeling like it was a rowing day, and I felt strong. While I didn’t know what my PR for 5K was exactly, I decided to see what I could do. BAM! It’s not the PR above, that was this December row, but oh so close. If I’d known what it was, I’d have gotten it since I was close to a sub 29 until about 23m in. When done I knew I had time to catch sunset so I headed west. What a beautiful night. Despite no running, ended up with a 20K step day. Been a while since one of those.
  • Saturday: plan was to go long, however reality involved sitting on the couch until 4PM. I won’t knock it, it was great sleeping/relaxing weather and I think I needed it. I also decided I wasn’t pushing my foot to hills so rather than my typical counter clockwise loop, I entered the park at E. 85th and headed south along the last third of the Women’s Mini loop before heading up the bridle path. I was tired and this felt harder than it should have. Although it was a gorgeous day to be outside-mid/high 70s-it was a little warm for a run and I found myself thirsty. I probably drank too much at the water fountain as it was bouncing around and I had to stop to walk after just half a mile. Although the plan was two laps around the outer reservoir track for an additional ~3, I knew I didn’t have it in me so I decided to go on the inner loop for some speed work. 4.5 wasn’t what I wanted, but it worked. I then walked home as a good cool down.
  • Sunday: off, heading out to the Rockaways with a friend for an art installation and hopefully a beach walk. Yes, I’ll keep my shoes on this time.

While I still haven’t perfectly figured out run v. rest, I think I did a good job this week of listening to my body. Even with two complete off days, it was one of my more intense weeks due to the solid rowing. It’s also crazy to look back at that post and see I was at 382 miles in November and am currently around 350. 😮

I don’t have a plan for this week as I’m still going to listen to my foot. I know I’ll take Friday off since I have the Retro on Saturday.  While I’ve enjoyed the sleep these two weekends provided, I miss the head start on the day a race provides.

Review: Alyssa Mastromonaco’s Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?

I don’t consider myself a political person, in fact I generally don’t enjoy discussing politics. Somehow, this has translated into reading three political books this year with one more on #20BooksOfSummer. That said, if you’re looking for a discussion of the 2016 election cycle, or an in-depth look at the Obama presidency, this book isn’t either of those.

Alyssa Mastromonaco’s Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?

I first spotted Alyssa Mastromonaco’s Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? at the physical Amazon Books store on E. 34th Street last summer. Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover as it seemed funny and intriguing, but I didn’t buy it at the time. I was headed somewhere and didn’t have room to carry a book with me, but I added it to my wishlist. I was happy when it came up on a Kindle Deal of the day in November and jumped on it, after which it sat on my digital Mt. TBR for six months.

It’s not that I suddenly thought I wouldn’t enjoy it; I was just utterly burnt out on anything related to US politics. Then I read Joe Biden’s Promises to Keep and absolutely loved it. His second book, and the book I intended to read, Promise Me Dad, is the fourth one still to come. I followed that up some months later with Beck Dorey-Stein’s From the Corner of the Oval from NetGalley. That was a fun memoir, and I found myself mostly surprised by a woman younger than me working as a stenographer during the years of the Obama administration. I truly thought that was a dead profession. Spurred on by my enjoyment of those two, I put this on #20Books figuring that was as good an incentive as any to push it to the top of Mt. TBR. When I finished Rise Up! I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for, and this finally seemed as intriguing as when I first saw it. I proceeded to finish it in four days, and would have been less given more reading time. ETA September 8: followed this up with Dan Pfeiffer’s book, which his a wonderful complement to this book.

While on the surface this is the memoirs of a woman working on the Kerry and Obama campaigns, as well as in Obama’s administration, and attaining high level positions in both while under 35, it’s much more than that. There are a lot of life lessons here for professional women working in any field. Among my favorites:

  • you can’t completely sacrifice yourself for your job, you have to find a way to prioritize yourself. While going prematurely gray can be treated easily with hair dye; Mastromonaco suffered from IBS and at one point was so sleep deprived she feared she was suffering from a brain tumor due to the side effects. It is possible to excel professionally, and rise to the level of being the President’s Deputy Chief of Staff while still taking care of yourself.
  • Fear of raising an opinion, despite being qualified. While working to be re-elected, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast. In a senior staff meeting, she wondered whether anyone had considered recording a PSA to offer advice on how to contact FEMA. After (over) thinking it, she raised the question and it was unanimously agreed that it was a great idea and they did it.
  • There is no bigger compliment than being intellectually curious about what someone else spends his or her days doing” YES. So many people fear it will be perceived as nosy or threatening, but it isn’t. And by the same token, you shouldn’t feel offended if someone asks about your job.

What wasn’t as prevalent in Dorey-Stein’s book that I enjoyed reading about in Mastromonaco’s was the “softer” side of Obama and the administration:

  • The lack of tampons in the West Wing bathrooms due to the relative lack of women of child-bearing age working in the White House
  • Obama arranging for the author to join him at Buckingham Palace before they flew out because he knew how much she admired the royals; and the important lesson to always carry a pair of dress pants on you.
  • Jack Lew, the White House Chief of Staff, arranging a hello from Bruce Springsteen because she’d been unable to attend the performance.
  • Obama calling from Air Force One after she’d left the White House to express his condolences on the loss of her beloved cat.

And of course where the book itself drew its title from, Obama asking this of his staff when they had a plan he wasn’t sure he was on board with.

There’s also the side you don’t know; such as:

  • if you’re an administration staffer looking to get married but without time or inclination to plan a wedding due to the stress of your jobs, you can get married by a Supreme Court Justice.
  • When traveling to a war zone, all is synchronized including when cell phones can be turned on so as not to create the opportunity for someone to interfere with POTUS’ travels or sabotage them in some way.
  • When traveling for a state function or other meeting with foreign dignitaries, the guests aren’t just a who’s who of American glitterati. In the case of the 2011 trip for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, they wanted “ a group of dynamic Americans the queen might enjoy meeting”, which came to include Kristin Chenoweth once they learned she enjoyed Broadway musicals.

All in all a really enjoying book that read more like a novel than a non-fiction book of the self-help/memoir variety. This was way less of a political book than I expected, and I’d actually say it’s of interest to most professional women regardless of your political leanings unless you’re someone who just cannot tolerate Obama at all. In the early chapters I didn’t care for Mastromonaco as much and found her an underwhelming narrator, until I better realized the purpose of this book: it wasn’t a memoir of working in the White House, it was a memoir of personal and professional growth while working there. And then I really began to click with her.

My only real struggle with the book was the author’s choice to use a lot of nicknames, which didn’t appear to be out of a need for anonymization.  She mentioned a lot of friends, colleagues and others she met in the course of her job, and it was sometimes hard to remember whether Moose, Shrummie and Possum were family members, pets or colleagues.

Training and Recovery, Week of 6.24 and #GoTheDist mid-year

You know those runs that are just absolute perfection in every way? That happened on Wednesday.

This was an interesting week, running wise. The original plan earlier in June was to take this week off as I had a feeling I’d be slightly burned out from all of the June races. In some ways, being sick last week and taking it easy cleared that and come Tuesday I was antsy to run. Antsy in the sense that I was sitting in a meeting and wanted to be outside. The mid 70s, zero humidity weather certainly helped with that, and I was glad to feel restored.

I realized in June that I really liked training for something, which I’d been doing in some form since October of last year. I want to take advantage of this window with no double digit races on the calendar, although I might do a ten mile in September. One challenge I really enjoyed last year was Run the Year’s 4x5K challenge when during June you were meant to run a baseline 5K and then three more to see if you improved. I did! Since one of my goals is to eventually get to sub 30 5K, I decided July would be perfect for it since heat would very likely mean a lot of indoor treadmill runs. I don’t have a final 5K planned as checkout, although this NYRR 5K is a possibility. More on the “check in” race below.

Weekly Wrap with Wendy and Holly.

  • Monday, planned off day from running and the gym. My legs were tired and slightly sore from the weekend’s races and while I’d have loved a date with the foam roller, I had a work event that culminated in this phenomenal sunset. Mother Nature truly is pure magic.
  • Tuesday, I had an end of day meeting near Blink NoHo, which I’ve come to quite like. I don’t go there often as it’s not convenient, but I thought I would. And then I realized I’d forgotten my watch and my headphones. As much as I don’t mind the treadmill, I mostly cannot do it without music or another distraction. Luckily, it was beautiful outside and I decided to hit my favorite part of Central Park. It was initially tough going as the bridle path had seen a lot of traffic that day and the dust & gravel was pretty stirred up. None of that helped the lingering cough so I walked the final hill and headed to the reservoir where I knew there was a water fountain. Wetting my lungs helped as I turned southeast and headed back to the start. Mileage is iffy as I was running Strava on my phone and it had some signal issues. But comfortable calling it just shy of 3.5 miles. A wonderful run. Sometimes it’s nice to be relatively electronics free.
really coming to love shorts. Forever terrible at selfies
  • Wednesday I wanted to run outside again but when I left the office it was threatening rain so I decided to head to the gym. I didn’t really have a plan in mind and hadn’t settled on the speed work I mentioned above yet, so just turned the treadmill on at 5.7 and went. It felt really, really good. I ended up a second off the 5K PR but what was awesome was that it felt almost easy aside from the residual coughing. While I said I’d realized I wasn’t regressing, it was nice to see that in results. I could have gone longer, but decided to give my lungs a break. I followed it up with some strength training. At 32:41 that is my July baseline 5K
when Keelie asks for a squat selfie and the plank is feeling solid. Plankie!
  • Thursday, planned off day due to medical appointment. That’s a good thing as the flooding was kind of crazy. Oddly I’d planned for the worst after this appointment (nothing super serious, but like many I’m paying for prior skin damage: love how Deb put it. And follow her advice too.) I love my dermatologist and ahead of taking off this mole she gave me a bunch of surgical consent forms and aftercare warnings. Guess it wasn’t getting frozen off. I planned to have Wednesday be my last run in case. It was relatively painless, with the only bothersome thing being the snipping sound so close to my ear and of course trying to keep a bandaid stuck in sweaty area with hair complicating matters. Better safe than sorry, and I’ll know whether it was something to worry about when I go back in two weeks. Curious about what the scar is going to look like, though I doubt it will be more prominent than the mole.
if you have to wear a bandaid on your face, might as well have fun on Summer Friday
  • By Friday I felt completely fine so after work I headed to the gym. The speed plan was firmly in my brain, coupled with reading the intervals chapter in Amby Burfoot’s Run Foreverand I decided to start there. After a .25 mile warmup (I have no patience), I alternated 6.2 and 5.5 with a less than .1 mile recovery break at 3.3mph after each 6.2. I made a game of it to use as little of that .1 mile as needed and got it as low as .07. The splits looked pretty funny as the walk recovery ate into the 5.5mph intervals. Totaled 3.25 miles of intervals and 3.51 overall. Math much? 6.2 was random, it’s my usual closeout speed of workouts but I wasn’t sure I could sustain repeat intervals at .25, so I decided I’d start there and drop to 6.0 if needed. Nope. I’m not sure yet whether my goal is to eliminate the walk intervals or raise base/fast speeds by month’s end. Thinking through that now. On the heels of a successful run, I hit the beach with a book or three. Summer Friday goals indeed
  • Saturday, completely off day. Too hot and I needed a mental health day. Still trying to kick the last of this cold, and although it was too hot to sleep in, I got some lovely rest.
  • Sunday, maybe run* (see below), probably row. Definitely play in a splashpad

GoTheDist

I cannot believe we’re at the mid-year point of #GoTheDist/Run the Year. Where has 2018 gone?

June

  • 479,755 Steps
  • 59.82 Miles Run
  • 210.39 Miles Run/Walked

Runfession, I saw the running mileage Saturday morning when I entered Friday’s run into my spreadsheet. I actually thought I was closer to 58. Why did I let it go? I’m having a (minor and hope to keep it that way) PF flare and decided it was going to be a rest day. Could I have gotten .18 miles without hurting? Probably. Would I have stopped at .18? Probably not. I also could have picked that up had I run home from one of the two races where I opted to walk. The PF said hello when I walked barefoot on the beach. I know better, but sometimes you just have to. I went to JackRabbit and got a new roller ball and will be better at my stretches. I also think I need to lay off the planks a bit as those don’t feel so good in the foot. Determined not to let this be a major flare and will ease into July as needed.

210 is just above what I need to hit my stretch Run the Year goal, so that’s perfect.

Q2

  • 1,467,553 Steps
  • 174.99 Miles Run
  • 642.22 Miles Run/Walked

OK, that running one is way more annoying than 59.82. But as I predicted at the end of Q1 when I was slightly off pace, spring/summer would be better.

2018 to Date

  • 2,825,182 Steps
  • 344.32 Miles Run
  • 1236.75 Miles Run/Walked

overall, I’m thrilled. I’m slightly off pace on the running, and 2,500 miles run/walked but I knew both to be stretch goals and they’re still in play. I’m 100% confident I’ll get 700 miles run on the year even though I won’t have the half marathon training I had in the first part of the year. This is insane compared with the midway point last year, and I really love the progress I’m making. 2018 goals are well in sight, although I switched to running mileage only for RTY so the team ones don’t quite make sense. Oh and a year into Amerithon, I’m in Missouri! I didn’t enjoy that as much as RTY, and I really dislike that RTY went to their tracker as I forever need to re-sync.

Gym Visits:

38 for the March – August window I was trying to get ahead this month while also catch up from May’s time away as I know I’ll be away in August.  I need 50 overall so should be in good shape. There’s been a lot of outdoor running followed by gym to stretch

Reading:

I’ve read 61 books on the year and will likely finish 62 today, which would mark Book 5 in #20BooksOfSummer. Overall, 17 ahead of schedule. WOW. Maybe 100 will happen?