Food, medicine and exercise

I won’t lie. I’m selfishly glad that the New York lockdown specifically permits exercise.  I think we all need it to stay healthy, and solo running is no different to other necessary activities. I’m oh so grateful I found running three years ago so I have an outlet.

As Jen & Lin-Manuel said it best: the world turned upside down

Stay safe everyone.

Get in Shape Girl!

Mom dug this out while looking through some of grandma’s old photos. If there were any questions as to whether I was an 80s child, that decor settles it.

One odd thing I noticed about my personal eating habits this week. Normally at the weekend when I sit with my coffee at my laptop, I find myself grazing on cheerios. This week, when I’ve made a concerted effort to go out and get coffee (7/11’s creamer is better), I don’t have the mindless munchy hunger and can make it until a proper lunch. Conclusion: bodies are weird.

Weekly run down with Deborah and Kim:

a visual representation of Covid19
  • never miss a Monday: I woke in the morning and it was too dark and cold, so I punted my run until after work. Unclear which is going to be better for me so long as work from home lasts, so I’m going to play it by ear. This run felt good. It was brisk out with the wind blowing the storm in. But I’m happy with four miles aka the really long way to a Walgreens four blocks away. I maybe could have gotten in six if I’d left a little earlier, but four > none.
Pantry tetris
  • Tuesday: really, really working on that PT space, which I’ve talked about for weeks. It’s crucial since the gym closed. I have most of what I need to do at home, save for a wall.  Deborah’s stability ball post reminded me I need to get one as there’s a lot I can do even without the wall. I’m still trying not to run two days in a row, so today’s “exercise” was walking to get coffee and my lunch. Grateful for my MealPal subscription’s two remaining meals to give me some lunch variety until my Peapod delivery came. Got in a walk to a colleague’s apartment for some sanity.
blooming at dusk
selfies in the age of social distancing
checking in on Fred
  • Wednesday plan was a morning run, but this being able to sleep in a little has been nice and with no event conflicts after work, it has been hard to get up early to run. Luckily I finished work in time to get in a pre-dark run in Central Park. Selfies still doable with social distancing!
I have too many mugs, but still almost bought this
this just made me laugh
  • Thursday: Target run after work for a pyrex bowl for the cooking that is happening.  Yes, I lack basics. Even though those in-block signs are super common, this pairing just made me laugh. Pizza is prehab, right?
Mother Nature enforced social distancing
  • Friday: 70s.  Chance of rain after work so I got out early in the fog for my new favorite four mile loop. It wasn’t crowded at all, with Mother Nature enforcing some social distancing between the island. The rain held out and I got in a walk after work too.
Hi spring
  • Saturday: temperatures returned to normal March, which meant I could run to meet a friend for a socially distanced walk through the flowers (Facebook, Instagram). Yes, I took too many pictures, but the flowers are so comforting. We remember running through the cherry blossoms and figure this is around our meetup anniversary, which made the catch up even better. Central Park is truly the best place for self care and social distancing. Rest of the day was spent trying to knock the apartment into shape for continued WFH and PT. I really, really want to reclaim my futon for fun vs. work, so we’ll see how that goes. I really want to read over this hibernation, and that’s not going to happen if futon is also a desk.
home office!
  • Sunday: working from a desk! Well blogging, not actual work at my laptop. It’s not perfect, and I need to find a riser and a chair, but it works. I love apartment life, and have frequently wondered why I’d move – I don’t need more space, but it’s not generally for full time living. Not to worry, I do have a suburban escape if I need it. Continued cleaning, purging and hopefully a run. Normally I’d never run three days in a row, but yesterday’s was only a mile and a half to meet my friend, so that was kind of a rest day. We’ll see when I get out.

How are you holding up? Any WFH or other advice? Read any good books yet?

No plan for the week, because who knows at this point. Just keep swimming err running.

Race Recap: Cherry Blossom 10 miler

Is there any US location prettier in spring than the Washington DC Tidal Basin when the cherry blossoms bloom? I don’t think so. I fell in love with those pink petals some 16 years ago in Japan, so DC in April has been a long-time bucket list item. It never quite moved to reality until I started running and heard about this race.

There were blossoms, this was my magic welcome wagon. There will be many more photos

When I entered the lottery for this race, I was a very different runner. I hadn’t run more than 10K. I had no idea if I could, or even if I wanted to run ten miles but the lure of the cherry blossoms was a strong one. By the time the notifications were sent out, I’d run 15K and knew I could cover the additional .7 miles. Notification was actually anticlimactic, I got a notification from AMEX that my card had been charged without being present an hour or so before I got the email. Oops! Although this run comes with a great training program beginning in January, I opted not to use it owing to recovery from the January Half Marathon and the plan to use this as a training run for Brooklyn. I began to question all of this in the corrals, but more on that later.

Great banner at the Expo!

I got to DC early Friday afternoon and after a flying visit to the National Portrait Gallery (hi, Obama portraits!) I dropped off my bag at my hotel and headed to the National Building Museum for the Expo. What a stunning building and fascinating history. I was thrilled to read that it was designed by Montgomery Meigs, a key figure in my last DC trip when I was reading Robert Poole’s On Hallowed Ground about the establishment of Arlington. The Expo was enormous, but simultaneously less chaotic than Fort Lauderdale’s.

I really loved the race shirts!
being silly after bib collection
here a name, there a name

Bib and shirt pickup were easy and I subsequently meandered the floor to check out the vendors. One thing I’d struggled with packing for this “Runners’ Rite of Spring” was the weather. In fact, at one point the forecast was so bad an email from the race mentioned a possible cancellation. Yes, there was a good chance I’d have worse weather for this than the January Half Marathon!  I packed tights and layers for on top, but I wasn’t confident in this so walked around to see if there were better options. I didn’t find any and decided to trust my gut. I was glad to subsequently read Deb Runs’ post and see that even way more experienced runners struggle with this for weird weather races.

I was going to head out when the announcer mentioned that Deena Kastor was still there signing her upcoming book. I was excited by that as I’d planned to go to her NYC signing, but wasn’t sure I’d be able to. As I was about to ask the announcer which booth Kastor was at, I turned to my right.

Deena Kastor!

The line was short, and I decided to join it. Books weren’t available yet and I knew I’d have a copy waiting for me here, so I wasn’t sure if I’d get anything signed but was just happy to listen to her chat to others on line about the book and about Boston.

Book plate! “Believe and achieve!”

It turned out that what Kastor was offering were bookplates which could subsequently be affixed to a copy of the book. I found her very down to earth and loved the note. Such good advice.

Although I’ve been to DC three times in the last 5-6 years, it was in some ways my first racecation. When I go to Fort Lauderdale, I don’t sightsee beyond the hotel’s beach and pool. DC it was a real effort to try to curtail the sightseeing especially as the blossoms were out and Friday was the first good weather day in months. Saturday I was a little more organized and the only real sightseeing we did was the new African American Culture & History Museum before trying to ascertain where the start was. Although CUCB’s app is wonderful, their mapping leaves something to be desired especially due to the out of town runners this race draws.

front of the treasury as I walked down to the start from my hotel

Once I knew the Metro wasn’t going to be running Sunday morning, I made the decision to stay in DC instead of in Arlington, where I normally am. Being ~10-15m walk from the Mall was perfect as it meant the walk was a nice warmup on Sunday morning when Uber surge made that a no go. On the plus side, I mixed in some sightseeing as I wiggled around the White House. The Treasury is just such a stunning building and I found the White House paled in comparison.

cold sunrise!

Sunday morning dawned bright and cold as we got into the corrals between the Washington Monument and the African American Museum. The sunrise was nice, albeit not very warm. Tights, tee shirt, long sleeve tee, hat and gloves worked well and I was cold but not freezing at the start and not too warm on the course, although I ended up taking off the gloves. I realized when I thought about finding my pace group that because I hadn’t run the distance when I signed up for the lottery, they’d seeded me in the furthest back corral and the group I thought about joining was in the next one forward. I decided I’d just run and if I saw them, great.

Best thing about the corral was I had the chance to meet up with another Run the Year runner who was in town for the race. She’s the first RTY person I’ve met, and that was fun. There were a few others in town, but we weren’t able to connect. Having someone to chat to made the time go faster and it seemed pretty quickly that they were moving us to the start.

let’s get ready to mosey!
Tidal Basin/West Potomac Park
out along Ohio Drive/Hains Point
who decided to end this on an uphill?

What a spectacular course!

I’d been warned that good times were hard at the start due to the large field, and that was definitely true as we completed the out and back toward Kennedy Center. The course was slightly altered due to the Memorial Bridge closure but other than a tunnel underpass near the Kennedy Center, there wasn’t an inch of this course that wasn’t gorgeous, even the final uphill. The first two miles were slow but then I found my space and settled into my zone.

Steady splits-ish
remarkably consistent between watch and official
the marker of a good race

I was really happy with the race I ran. I didn’t have a time goal, knowing about the crowded start and knowing I’d see blossoms and want to take photos. So I was thrilled to see a sub two hour time as that seemed like a good number, and passing more than I passed in the second half seems right. Like two weeks ago, no pain on a long run and I feel like the lingering knee issue is finally better. The miles went by quickly and although I was tired, I felt like I could have gone further (spoiler, I did. I subsequently walked 12 more miles!)

Super Runner!
Cheese ball! So glad for the heat wrap

Yep, post race ham is mandatory as I wandered over to the staging grounds to get the medal before heading to meet a friend for breakfast. It was really too chilly to linger longer.

I was surprised at how cheap the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler is, at only $45. I opted to upgrade to the tech shirt and buy a medal. I like that they had ala carte options to keep the base cheaper and more accessible to all. I really loved the tech shirt (and that I needed to swap it for a smaller size!) and while I didn’t love it at first, the medal grew on me.

As someone who loves cherry blossoms, I’m so glad I got to experience DC at this time. Would I do this race again? Undecided. The race itself is cheap but DC is an expensive city with hotel rates especially so for cherry blossoms. Part of me thinks I’d rather spend the same amount (or less) to do a different race, maybe in a new to me location. I’m also intrigued by the Philly Hot Chocolate 15K, which is the same weekend and another great city. Decisions, decisions. So definite maybe, but through no fault of the race itself. It’s really well done and I can see why it’s so popular.

For others’ thoughts on the #CUCB2018, check the official LinkUp.

Other Notes:

  • recovery went well. I was slightly sore coming off the three-hour train ride that night, but that could have had as much to do with the subsequent walk all over DC as the run. I couldn’t believe  I was up for that! More to come on that when I’m done editing photos. Took an Advil as I walked and then when I went to bed, but woke Monday 99% fine. I took Monday and Tuesday off running but went to the gym Monday to use their foam roller. I ran Wednesday short to shake out the legs and this morning outside for 3.5 fast (for me) miles and I’m good to go.
    • When I went to Deena Kastor’s NYC book signing at Road Runners on Tuesday I saw the shirts for the SHAPE Half and they’re purple! I won’t lie, I love them and kind of wish I were running Sunday (although not now that I see the weather). But I know not running  it on those hills was the smarter move as I train for Brooklyn (5/19). The plan is 10K this weekend, 15K the following two before a TBD as I’m away 5/6 when the taper should start. I’m still not familiar with the course, but I’m hoping to get below 2h40. I think the training will get me there.
    • Why I’m doing a 10K Saturday is less post-race soreness and more because I did sign up for Damon Runyon again and that’s Sunday. While I don’t think it will be the hot mess last years was, the stairs are challenging and going into them with tired legs isn’t smart. I know the GPS won’t work at the indoor start so may do this one without a watch and just go with their timing again.
  • Deena Kastor in New York was amazing, and I’m loving what I’ve read so far of her book. She claimed to remember me from the Expo and asked how my run went.  That felt awesome. I’ll definitely review the book here when I’m done. I’m hoping she leads the Masters’ field on Monday, and I love that I’m excited about Boston. Although I don’t think she will, I’d love to see Shalane Flanagan win.
  • I should hit 200 miles run on the year this year. I’m really pleased with that.

On to the next

my inner Japan, 2016

You can take the girl out of Japan, but you can’t take the Japan out of the girl. Specifically, the love of cherry blossoms ingrained in me in April 2002 in Himeji and then again during April 2006 in Hiroshima.

This El Nino’ed winter meant an early and short peak for this year’s blossoms. I was hoping to get to Brooklyn Botanic Garden this weekend because I don’t think the blossoms will last until Sakura Matsuri later this month, but it’s supposed to snow. Oh Mother Nature. So much for some April steps.

These are the last few weeks, mostly in Central Park, and a mad cap dash through the Park today before they all freeze tomorrow.