Running without music and Run to Lose, week of 9.9

My TomTom has been having sporadic GPS issues of late that seem to be getting worse. The battery isn’t lasting as long as it used to either. It owes me nothing, it’s a hand me down that I’ve had for a year and a half, and its previous owner had it about a year. It’s time to start looking for a replacement: happy for any suggestions you have. In the mean time, I’m going to try running without music. One of the features I loved the most about the TomTom was the onboard playlist since I don’t have any music on my phone, nor do I have the data for a streaming service. Alas, TomTom is leaving the GPS watch space so I’m hesitant to invest in a new one. The Garmin with music is just way too expensive for my budget and reviews of the others don’t seem great. Since I don’t relish carrying old iPod for music along with my phone, one step might be to learn to run without music at least outdoors which I can apply to races. Indoor treadmill runs are less of an issue as I can always figure out something there. These are my current thoughts:

  • Garmin: I’m looking heavily at these. They seem to be the gold standard in the running industry for a reason
  • Fitbit with GPS: meh. They’re too big. I don’t wear my running watch daily for this very reason and I like my Alta for steps so don’t particularly feel the need to upgrade
  • Apple Watch: meh. I’m wholly an Apple person, but the first thing I do with fitbit and running watch is to turn off the messaging notifications because they drive me nuts, so I feel the benefits of this are mostly not of interest to me. Even before I was running, the Apple Watch held no interest to me.

The benefit is the TomTom isn’t totally dead and its battery seems to be holding long enough for my fall races, so I should hopefully be able to take advantage of holiday sales.

I finally got Runner’s World’s Run to Lose and taking a lot from it when it comes to fueling for runs and in general. Some of it is nutritional common sense, some isn’t. It’s well written and accessible. I especially like the Kindle edition since I can click through to some of the studies cited. I think I’m finally ready to break this ~ 7 month plateau, especially ahead of the holidays. I also need to figure out my fueling strategy ahead of a humid half marathon in February since gels and necessary water made me queasy last year. I can do 9 miles without fuel and probably won’t use anything for the Bronx 10 Miler, but those extra three need something.

[bctt tweet=”Run to lose, without music? #RunTheYear” username=”travellingcari”]

Weekly wrap with Holly and Wendy:

  • Sunday: I was less sore than I expected after Saturday’s long run. It was a cool, damp day and because of that, I didn’t tailgate. My steps suffered as a result, but I was OK with that because not tailgating meant better food choices. Sometimes it’s just impossible to avoid guacamole and the salt of tostitos. Weight Watchers had a tailgate and I was curious, but not enough to get more wet.
  • Monday: my right calf was sore. DOMS or just weirdness? Who knows. With the cool weather I’m back to sleeping in my bed so it’s not the futon related curling up. Oh bodies, you are so weird. I fully expected this to be an issue on the treadmill but it wasn’t because I could not get one! I was at the Times Square location of my gym earlier than normal because I wanted to get home for Monday Night Football, but apparently everyone else had the same idea. Odd too because the city otherwise seemed quite for Rosh Hashanah. So after a short row to warmup, I hit the LateralX for two miles/30M. I love it in a way I don’t care for the typical elliptical and feel it’s the closest to running in terms of getting my heart rate up.
Tribute in Light, 9/11 Memorial South Pool in foreground
  • Tuesday: September 11. I knew that a run today needed to be meaningful. Luckily, the weather held out as meaningful and treadmill don’t go hand in hand to me. For the past few years I’ve gone downtown to see the Tribute in Light and wondered whether it might work to run there from the office. After a short hop to the start of a construction detour that served as a warmup, I ran the rest of the way down to the Winter Garden from where I could cross over to the Memorial. The lights were beautiful in the fog. I contemplated running back to the office but had accidentally run without money and couldn’t refill my water, so hopped on the subway back. Sometimes there’s no right way to mark a day like this, but this felt right. Speaking of water refills, I wish the Lululemon vending machine had been open, although it’s unclear whether they have water to go with Nuun tabs.
  • Wednesday: super busy day, ton of steps between meetings. I was wavering on going to the gym, but decided to try. It was one of those rare exceptions to get going and you’ll be fine-I had nothing in the tank. Partially tired, partially food log related. So I turned it into a stretch and strengthen after bailing on the rower.
quack! Not on the run, later in the day between meetings
  • Thursday: note to self: if you’re going to run in the morning, watch what you eat at night. Pizza does not sit well even ~ 12 hours later. I knew though I couldn’t run after work due to an event so I went with short and sweet vs. not at all. Cool, humid morning. Nice start to the day. While I can’t get it together to be a solid morning runner, I love how it makes me feel the rest of the day, especially if I fuel well after and am not a hangry mess.
yeah that’s how i felt about running Friday night. Manhattan 7M shirt, can you tell I planned to run outdoors originally?
  • Friday: attempt at running without music? FAIL. That was more about bad food choices during the two days and feeling sluggish than the lack of music that stemmed from forgetting watch, headphones and headband. Even with the Yankee game I couldn’t stay on the treadmill or the elliptical bike so I had a very good stretch and plank session and called it a night.
I am grumpy, hear me roar. Actually more sneezy than grumpy. Failed workout, repeat shirt, less laundry. Winning.
well that’s a different kind of trail!


  • Saturday: wanted to run long and really didn’t want to run Central Park as I wanted the riverside breeze. Contemplated going to the west side but didn’t think I had enough time due to my cleaner coming at 5:30 (best. treat. ever). so I decided to check out Randalls Island, which I last explored back when I was doing the #GreatManhattanLoop. It was a run in two and a bit parts: potty break, and needed to find out where the FDR on ramp crossing was with all the construction and a run/walk around the lower part of Randall/Wards Island. It was about 80 and slightly humid but the real culprit was the freshly cut grass. My allergies were in full tilt and the grass didn’t help. Nor did no shade so I ran when I could, walked when I couldn’t and ended up cutting the loop short. There are some great paths to explore on RI maybe  in a couple of weeks. After walking up the bridge I tried to run again but I was feeling shaky so I opted to walk. Calling this a learning lesson, sneeze powered is a fun joke but not actually for runs. Besides food logs, I probably need to look more closely at allergy meds & runs’ timing.
Peanut Butter Warrior
  • Sunday: equal parts recovery / make up & get ahead mileage as this week’s schedule is brutal. Original plan was my typical NFL Sunday recovery, run down the river to the gym and stretch before heading home to be a couch slug. However I found out one of my/my nephew’s favorite vendors (Meece for Mayor!) would be at the Columbus Ave. street fair so I decided to head that way. I took the long way to the Fair and an odd for me route through Central Park to try to avoid both the chess tournament and the 18M race. I felt bad for those runners, this was not long run friendly weather. But I love knowing NYRR does this as if I decide to run NYC next year, organized long runs will be a godsend. The roads were just way too congested and as a side benefit, the paths had way more shade. After sorting out presents, I briefly wandered the rest of the street fair before heading home via the grocery store. And a smoothie stop. While that was 25% wanting to fuel early, it was mostly about having a sparkling clean kitchen and not wanting to mess it up via a smoothie. JustSalad’s Peanut Butter Warrior is one of my favorite commercial smoothies especially as it’s non dairy and I rarely carry Lactaid on the run.

And then I was a slug. That’s what football Sundays are for. I apologize for any heat waves in the NYC area, I took my AC out yesterday.

Bronx 10Mile Training Mileage (since July 31): 97.24 miles

Plan for the Week:

  • Monday: Cross Train or Stretch & Strengthen
  • Tuesday: Run
  • Wednesday: Off, plans before and after work
  • Thursday: return of the office run group, hopefully
  • Friday: run
  • Saturday: TBD
  • Sunday: Bronx Tune Up: I’m feeling ambivalent about the Bronx 10 after the past two Saturdays. Success is likely going to be very weather dependent


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.

Rebound Runday

Beautiful fall afternoon


yes, running has definitely brought out the writer in me. It’s not particularly surprising, I’m way more accountable when I’m blogging.

The calendar says November so of course I’m just carrying a light jacket as I walk between meetings. In fact it was even a tad humid. I knew I wanted to run today and took advantage of it still being nearly 70F and ducked out of the office on time. On Tuesday I was pleasantly surprised to realize that the NYRR Run Center was going to remain open all week even with the focus on the marathon pavilion and the marathon expo. So I changed, stashed my stuff and headed into the park at Columbus Circle.

I knew what I was supposed to run today, but I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Why? Because Tuesday’s run was a mess. It started OK but I felt out of breath before Cat Hill (I run counter clockwise) and struggled up it in a way I hadn’t even Sunday. At the top I paused to catch my breath and never got it back, I couldn’t stop coughing and eventually gave up and walked back to NYRR after a few false starts. It was a perfectly cool fall day and my old friend exercise induced asthma said hi. It didn’t catch me completely off guard as I wondered if it would flare, but it never did for my chilly spring outdoor runs. If it happens again I’ll have it checked out, but in the mean time I’m hoping it was just change of season like my allergies sometimes do.

My legs and lungs were ready to go – my watch was not so today’s run ended up in three stints (one was a bathroom break) until my Tom Tom decided to find a signal. What did that mean? Way too much math to figure out how far I needed to run on the final segment to hit four miles. And because I couldn’t see the watch in the dark I was doing some city streets to get to 2.7. Luckily all of the lights cooperated.  I had to look at my spreadsheet to see if it was a good time since I don’t have a good feel for four miles, but it was a good one. More importantly, it felt great aside from watch fiddling.  For whatever reason, my Thursday runs have consistently been better than Tuesdays.

Marathon Finish Line

That was a nice home stretch to the park portion of the run. You can’t actually run through the finish, but it’s nice to approach it from the back. One day! Not really – I don’t have any interest in the marathon distance, but the way I view the marathon has definitely changed since I started running. I am rarely in the city for marathon Sunday and that’s true again this year, but I’m definitely more excited by it than I used to be. The rare mornings I am here have involved grumbles at the cowbells waking me and frustration at trying to navigate the Upper East Side. This year I really enjoyed the marathon excitement.

Look forward to enjoying it in person in the future. Here’s to sorting out cool weather running in the mean time

Harlem Hills

There’s a race I’m contemplating for 2018 and the first thing I saw when I looked at the course map (always look!) was the damn Harlem Hills. They’re a little mythical to me at this stage as I’ve only done them twice and the first time was also my first ever 10K-a very bad combo.I decided that if I wanted to do the run I’m thinking of, and/or not dread every single Central Park 10K I needed to face my nemesis.

I was feeling particularly strong about this after Thursday’s run wherein Cat Hill was no big thing. I also knew they’d be relatively less crowded than the southern parts of Central Park three weeks out from the marathon. My warmup was my usual brisk walk from 1st to 5th Ave and I ducked into the park at 85th street and headed north. Rather than my usual left turn at 102nd, I took a deep breath and continued north.

Elevation Profile – Strava

I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t the immediate uphill I remembered in my brain, in fact it was actually downhill behind the rink? Much like when I finally tackled Cat Hill earlier in June I finished thinking “that’s it?” It’s a long stretch and certainly strains the lungs, but it was nowhere near as bad as I remembered when I did that first 10K. That was just a week or two before the women’s half and I remember thinking I’d never do that — it would mean I’d have to do the hills twice! Don’t get me wrong, I think running thirteen miles and doing the hills twice would be brutal, but it’s not the monster it seems. Note to future newbies from this newbie, don’t make a Central Park 10K your first.

I have to give it more thought and another run clockwise like the Women’s Mini, but I think I like running counter clockwise better. I hit the hills at just past mile one, similar to June on relatively fresh legs and it may be a case of being better trained, but today felt better. Plus side of also not seeing the runners coming up the hill behind the rink the way you do when running clockwise.

March 24, 2017 splits
October 14 splits

Yep, definitely faster. I also didn’t walk at all although I slowed to drink since I still can’t multi task!

PRs all over the place
I’ll bet that 1K record wasn’t on hill

Yes, I’m very happy with how today’s run went. Like Thursday, it made me feel good about some plans I have.

I didn’t have an exact distance in mind today so I decided to listen to my body especially after doing the hills. The northern loop is also the one where my achilles has occasionally played up. Lungs and brain (aka mental game) were good. Somewhere I after I crossed 102 heading south though, my hip started to whine. I knew if I zigged around the soccer fields I could get back to start without much issue so I decided to do that. Just north of Engineers’ Gate my hip turned up the whine so I stopped the watch and made my cool down longer.

Final run picture according to Strava

Yep, starting to do more with Strava even though its distance is off. The maps can be good and their segment tracking is amazing. We’ll see how this tracks as I continue to tackle the Hills.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s run. As I look at actual training plans I realize I need to do some more training reads. They speak a language I don’t.

Transformation Tuesday: 6.2 on 7/4

US Road Running’s I Run for Bling medal

I’d hoped to do the Firecracker 10K, but registration logistics didn’t work out and I still needed to earn this US Road Running I Run for Bling medal** that came in the mail earlier this week. It was gorgeous and I knew how to get roughly 6.2 out of Central Park, so off I went.

About 2.5 miles in I knew my hip was having a moment and I would need to foam roll so I decided to end my run at the gym. Disappointed, but I knew that if I wanted it to ever heal (helping Peapod Driver up and down the stairs and squats do not help), I needed to listen to it. When I got there I realized I’d done four miles and it was about four minutes faster than I had in April!

4 miles, April 1 and July 4

The course wasn’t exactly the same as I started north of Cat Hill, but even that evil hill and .03 shorter doesn’t make a four minute difference. I’m so glad I’m tracking as it’s much easier to see the progress.

After a session with the studded foam roller and some good stretching, I felt good and said, time to finish this. I wasn’t sure I was going to get 6.2, but I knew I at least had it in me to run home. After the first mile felt surprisingly good and “fast” (for me), I knew I was going to get 2.12. I hadn’t wanted to do the Harlem Hills with my recovering hip / quad so I knew I’d have to make up some mileage to make this be 6.2.

Loop de loop de loop for 2.2

Loop de loop de loop! I wasn’t coming in short. I’m actually pleasantly surprised how fast that initial mile was after a half hour break at the gym. I clearly wasn’t as tired or sore as I felt. Those 2.14 miles came in at 12:32, three seconds faster than my first four. (And yes, going to log them separately for honesty even though it will bring down duration).

I’m not counting it cumulatively as a 10K other than in posting my results for the medal above, but if I were it would be: 6.22 miles at 78m, 7 seconds or 1:18:07, a PR. Does it make me wish I’d gone for the full 6.2 at a clip? Yes, but I’m not sure I’d have finished without the break to tend to my hip. Even at four, but definitely at 6.2, this was my longest run without others / a finish line to push me forward. I think that’s the transformation even more than the pace improvement.

**Funniest thing, I like the shirts way more than medals. They’re more practical. But bling is fun.

letdown run… or maybe not

I’ve known since early March that I can’t run on a full stomach. Found that one out after trying to run after dinner one day. Nope. I generally do manage OK running after work with the latest snack about 4PM and a run around 6:30. I don’t tend to run more than about 2/2.5 miles in the evening though.

Yesterday’s #Run4Warriors was to be my first after work 5K. In fact it was to be my only race with food in my stomach. Between that and having had only two runs in the prior week due to vacation, I wasn’t optimistic, but didn’t want to bail on a good cause.

The day was gorgeous and the course was perfect. It was an out and back from Battery Park to Stuyvesant High School on the path I’d covered recently during the Saunter and the 9/11 5K. That’s where the similarities ended.

I was off to a bad start when I realized upon changing at the office that I’d forgotten my socks so after a Duane Reade run I was violating “nothing new on race day” though I knew that was a lesser evil than bare feet in sneakers. Speaking of starts, I went out too fast and wondered why I was winded early. Whoops, you don’t run a sub 10m.

The run itself wasn’t pretty. My feet were sliding in too small for my shoes socks and my left foot went numb, but I didn’t want to stop. I knew I was going to be very back of the pack and didn’t want to leave volunteers out there any longer than necessary, so I ran. My time wasn’t pretty. It was better than the Frozen Penguin, but not as good as the 9/11 5K even accounting for the latter’s 5K-ish.  I came away happy I finished, but unhappy with how I did. Like I wasn’t progressing, even though I was according to my spreadsheets.

After a lovely chat on Twitter with @Hope4TheWarriors and @RunTheEdge I felt better. We have Summer Fridays and I went for a run around 2, about four hours after I’d last eaten. And I ran my run, not worrying about finishing last or anything. And it felt good. It was my somewhat routine of:

  • .75 mile at 12:30 (4.8 mph)
  • .25 mile at 10:55 (5.5 mph)
  • .15 mile at 18:45 (3.2 mph)
  • .6 mile at 12:30
  • .25 mile at 10:55
  • .15 mile at 18:45
  • 2 minute round up to 30m at 12:00 (5mph)

I like this, it works for me. It grew somewhat out of the ASICS Pacing Academy which I stalled out on. I like longer time intervals vs. more frequent/shorter ones. Finding my pace has been a thing for a while. Even though I can do a 5K without stopping, I feel better with my walk breaks in there. No doubt climate control helped too. And then I went to look at my splits from yesterday to today.

top (5K on June 1). Bottom, 2.3 miles on June 2

Um what? Mile 2, even with my .15 walk at the top of it was faster than two of my miles yesterday and just ten seconds off mile one yesterday? I get it, objectively, but it doesn’t make sense. I need to look back, but I think today’s first mile was my fastest since I only recently went from 12:45 to 12:30 as my base. Baby steps.


  • I am progressing. My spreadsheet isn’t lying.
  • I was under prepared for yesterday.
  • I still can’t drink and run.
  • I’m much more suited to pre-eating runs and morning races. Latter is super counter intuitive as I’m not a morning person at all. I’m probably not well suited to summer runs either, which probably means a break from races after next week until September but we’ll see.
  • I’m doing Run The Year’s June #4x5KChallenge and this served as my baseline. I know what I need to do, now to implement.
  • Can I beat my 10K from March in next week’s NYRR Mini? I really have no idea. I haven’t been able to keep up with my training plan, but I definitely have more base mileage than I did then, so I think so. It’s a morning run so heat shouldn’t be an issue.
  • Should I run 5miles Sunday? Leaning no, but may decide yes. We’ll see.
  • I’ve raised $256 for Joyful Heart Foundation. More dollars raised than miles run is a ratio I can live with at this point.