Tuesday Topics: Lebow 2.0 #MedalMonday

I have so many feelings about Sunday’s Fred Lebow Half Marathon.

Tuesday Topics

Linking up with Kim and Zenaida to share the good, the bad and the amusing about the race.

thoughts on my second time through @nyrr's #FredLebowHalf Click To Tweet

Because I picked up my hat so early, it was a disjointed “race day experience” and then I just repeated same picking up my shirt & bib for Gridiron while getting my medal engraved.  I was excited to be running Lebow again, but I was nervous especially as my calf/achilles hadn’t fully resolved. My official race plan was to listen to my body and go as long as it felt safe. If I thought I was exacerbating whatever is going on, or if I was too cold/wet, I’d drop out.

The good:

  • I finished happy. That was my primary goal and challenge with Achilles pain getting an assist from the weather forecast. I really didn’t expect the race to go on, and NYRR was fairly sure it would have been a fun run at best. They made the decision to go on Saturday morning and I was unsure. In the end weather wise, it wasn’t much worse than Brooklyn. I was glad for the 8a start because by noon when I was headed to NYRR Run Center to have my medal engraved, the wind had kicked up big time. As of writing this Sunday evening, it’s 11 with a wind chill of -1. That would have been a much harder race.
  • I finished strong this was fun. While yes, I wanted to be done in that I was soggy, I didn’t feel trashed and wasn’t really counting down the miles. There were moments, like between miles two and three when I was dreading Harlem HIll and ca. mile 7 when I wondered whether it would really be bad to sneak onto the Transverse to finish vs. heading into the passing lane for my 3rd and final lap. But overall I wasn’t counting down to the end. There were moments I wasn’t sure what mile it was. This was also surprising as I wasn’t sure what my cardio was given this weird cycle. This had to do with pacing, no doubt, and more on that below, but it made me think I really will survive marathon training.
I flamingo, therefore I am
  • I didn’t feel trashed at the end. Yes my calves are sore and I’m grateful to bengay, the foam roller and epsom salts, but I feel much better than I did after Lebow last year. I was so excited to be able to flamingo when I went to get my medal. (I am a dork, yes. ) Granted, it was my good leg and I won’t be doing Tree with my left anytime soon, but I am wowed at this. As of Monday evening, my quads and knee are fine.
  • I ran all of the hills. I actually ran 99% of the race. Walks were for fiddling with wardrobe and opening gel/chews and pouring a cup into my water bottle to top that up. This really surprised me since I didn’t think I was in hills shape. Looking at some of the splits, I’m not sure whether walk/run would have been better or not. I’m happy with my pacing.
  • Speaking of, I let the pacers go before mile 2. 2:30 was the last set and I knew I wasn’t in 2:30 shape. I’d have blown up if I tried. I decided to treat this as a rainy, long, supported training run and just go at my pace. If I finished last, so be it. My watch was under my sleeves so I didn’t look at it very often. I was lapped by the winner between miles two and three and eventually lapped by 1:30/1:45 and   pacers. “Last hill” when I was at mile ~7 and they were between miles 11 and 12 made me want to throw things. Although I thought I was losing time, I stayed with the same people most of the race. There was a lot of team work in helping open gels, get gloves on and off, etc. One guy paused to help me on Harlem Hill as I was trying to get gel out, put glasses back on and shove soaking wet gloves in my pocket.
Engraved, so it must be official
  • Official time: 2:42:26. That’s about a minute and a half behind last year‘s 2:41:09. I’m supposed to be disappointed, but I’m really not. I knew I wasn’t in PR shape between the calf/achilles and November’s impact on the training. I made the decision long ago that I was training for Fort Lauderdale and not this. When my watch beeped 12 miles I knew I had about 1.3 to go and ~15M. Knew it would be close, and decided to push it. The result? My best mile since mile four. I don’t regret this at all, I don’t think I could have gone faster earlier and finished
  • The new coat is probably what kept me from hating the race more. After a wet fun run a few weeks ago, I knew my jacket needed to be retired.  It just didn’t zip all the way up. So Saturday once I knew the forecast was going to be WET, I went to Modells and got this after striking out at New Balance and Jack Rabbit. Nothing new on race day and all that, but folks had recommended it, it said it was breathable and it was perfect. On top I had a base layer, a tee shirt and a long sleeve top that I didn’t mind tossing if it got too hot/wet. When I went to change I realized other than base layer sweat, and the back collar, I was dry! I am similarly floored I had no blisters either from wet feet or new shoes, but when I went to throw out socks, the volunteer commented that he’d had a lot tossed in his bag, but mine were the first socks. Also, fresh socks in a ziplock in an inner pocket stayed perfectly dry. Best thing about four pockets, no need to wear belt although I hung on to my water bottle way longer than necessary and it would have been nice to have somewhere to put it.
  • My fueling: more on the gels below, but in general it was good. NutriGrain bar in the Uber to the start/corral, Gatorade Apple Pear gel at about 10K and two vile Blueberry Gu chews toward the end. The gel was unplanned but went down fine since I wasn’t overheated.I thought I took a second one on the second lap, but apparently dropped it as it wasn’t in a pocket when I went to take it, hence two chews. The consistency of the Gatorade one was nice and the citrus was less glu-ey than vanilla, which is the only Gu my stomach likes. Fueling is going to be a fun challenge this spring summer. I have no idea what I’m doing for Ft. Lauderdale where heat & gel didn’t mix last time.
9+1 scratchoff
  • There were rumors they’d be changing 9+1 just as they have been changing 4/6, but all is the same for 2020. Picked this up at RunCenter while waiting on medal engraving. An interesting addition to 4/6 for 2020 for those of you who aren’t local who want to run the NYC Half is this $80/$100 Virtual Half in partnership with Strava  It comes with guaranteed, non-complimentary entry and the virtual trainer ($30 value). Is it worth $50/$70 to bypass the lottery? It’s certainly cheaper than going the charity route.

The bad:

  • the weather? But really, I can’t complain about a chilly rain in January. It could have been icy or freezing rain. I really have no complaints about this race. I wish I had photos, but that was a choice I made not risking my phone in the rain. ETA: one photo below

The amusing:

this is why we wear pink pants! (c) Cheer Everywhere
  • YES! I didn’t get caught by the official photographer for the Brooklyn Half and was sure I’d find myself courtesy of my hot pink jacket. No such luck, but when I perused Cheer Everywhere’s gallery today, I spotted my pants. This is why we wear pink 😀 I just wish I’d spotted the photog to ham it up. Then again, this was Harlem Hill. I think take one, because I’m pretty sure I hung the soaking wet buff on an earlier branch in lap 2. I thought I took my glasses off later though, so unclear when this was
I really love this medal. Fred still incorporated, but it’s more medal like
  • The medal. Well more precisely, the writeup on how it came to be. I’m not one who is driven by a race’s medal, but I love Fred Lebow, this race and the medal.
  • My attire. I wish I had a photo, but I didn’t bring my phone because it was so rainy. Top layer for my upper body was a trash bag. Lower body? A heat shield from one of last year’s races. I actually ran in the heat shield for about half a mile and the trash bag until just before Cat Hill between miles one and two when I just got too warm. I was jealous of those who planned ahead and had ponchos.
  • Flat Cari failed me. I learned from Brooklyn and laid out, among other things, two plastic bags and two NYRR gear bags to keep my feet dry until the start. I then left them in my apartment. Oops. I bought new chews on Saturday night, and promptly forgot to put them in my pocket. So I have them for Fort Lauderdale or a long run before then, and gummed stale blueberry ones.

Overall, I was really happy with this race. Lebow was just as fun the second time through and I continued to learn a lot about myself. While at the moment I’m saying no more January Halfs! I think I know I’ll be back next year.

What’s your favorite race that you return to?

What’s your favorite I’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on moment?

Planning through pain

It’s better to be ten miles undertrained than one mile overtrained

This was twice-repeated at Monday’s NYRR event and it’s so true and so fitting for my training. I think my feet/knees are a reasonable alarm clock when I’m erring toward that one mile. While frustrating, this two week time has been educational too. What can I do when I can’t run, especially when I need to burn off energy.

I realized I still do love rowing, my OG exercise, and need to make more of an effort to do it regularly. Even peak resolutionist season, the rowers are often empty.

I also spent the week weather stalking since winter decided to take all of the cold and snow and pack it into one week for the mid Atlantic/northeast. Stay safe everyone! At the course strategy session (yes, I know better. I still went anyway) Friday they were predicting maybe 10% chance the race would go as planned, but way more likely it would be a fun run or cancelled outright. I’ll be honest, if it had been turned into a fun run, I might have opted out. There’s nothing fun for me about running in an icy rain if it doesn’t count for anything.

Weekly wrap with Wendy and Holly :

  • Monday: two miles on the LateralX, which I realized is a way longer mile than the standard elliptical. No pain. Lots of rolling, stretching
  • Tuesday: treadmill test of new shoes. No pain. Long stretch after.
  • Wednesday: off. I took my gym bag to department holiday party but it was after 9 by the time we wrapped and I was way too tired.
  • Thursday: office run group, aka major test of new shoes as it involved Central Park hills. We decided to do the longer loop to 102nd St. vs. cutting over on the reservoir track since dark and muddy is a bad combination. This meant we’d have the West Side rollers as well as Cat Hill and, to be honest, I was slightly nervous. Outside of needing to stop twice in the first mile to tie my shoes, it was a success. We got to talking and the five miles went quickly. No pain, just slightly sore Friday morning. Verdict? Bad shoes.
  • Friday: NYRR course strategy wherein I countered the voice psyching myself out with the one reminded me I could do this because I had done this. Followed by gym, 1M LateralX, 2500 meter row (forearm was oddly sore) and long stretch and roll.
pre race tradition
  • Saturday: off. When I thought the race might be called, I planned to run Saturday but around 11a, they said due to the weather shift it was a go. Didn’t even leave the apartment until 5P when I realized I needed to get to LPQ before 7P closure to get my pre-long race meal and remembered I had no chews. So Jackrabbit, Modells and LPQ. Freebie was their organic honey lemon ginger drink and while I feared it might be too sweet, it was delicious.
layers, trash bags, rain coats, heat shields
Done!
  • Sunday: Ice would have turned me off running this, but I found myself wishing for snow because while I’ve done a half marathon in the rain, I haven’t done one in cold January rain. This was better though than the original forecast of 8F. Spoiler: I finished, and hit my goals. More on Tuesday. ETA: recap here.

January, Gyms and Fred Lebow

Winner winner chicken dinner: Run Like Duck winner is the wonderful Wendy!
I emailed you via the address that showed. If you didn’t get it, DM me on twitter/IG with an email.

Gyms and January are a hot topic. Blink is a place where the crowds don’t ebb and flow drastically, at least not the two locations I typically go to. While it’s not a Planet Fitness, it’s not one with extensive equipment which tends to cut down on some of the nonsense. I had my first personal encounter with resolutionist shamers and it just made me laugh. Apparently unpacking a new sports bra and taking off the tags in the locker room is a heinous crime worthy of comment. I resisted the urge to invite them to access a print out of my visits, but really it shouldn’t matter.

Lebow Hat 2019

It’s crazy to realize Fred Lebow is next week. I also just realized that with New Years Day a Tuesday, MLK is a week later and whee, I have Monday off after the Half. Although walking around was good recovery last year, it’s going to be a push to do my stairs when I don’t have to for work.

Getting ready for the #FredLebowHalf to kick off my @nyrr running in 2019 Click To Tweet

So with it a week out, goals:

  • Finish strong. This is really about pacing myself. I know I’m undertrained and my achilles/calf is still a slight issue. If this means walking up Harlem Hills so I finish, I need to do this. I want to finish, yes, but I’d prefer it not be a limping crawl over the finish.
  • Have fun. Yep. This really is number one. I want to enjoy this day. Lebow was my first and I hope it’s just as magical the second time around.
  • 2:45? 2:50? Yeah, that’s not a PR but I’ve done minimal hill work and I think I’m going to regret it. 2:41:09 was this course, 2:50:08 was Ft. Pancake/Flat Lauderdale where I walked a lot due to heat, gel queasy. Honestly? I don’t care. I just want to finish this feeling good about the run. I was injured last year too so not sure extent to which that’s a deciding factor.

My regrets about the training cycle? No Mile High and not changing shoes sooner (more on that below). Lesson learned. Both within my control vs. November’s challenges.

Monday is D-Day. Err, M-Day. It’s the first day I can claim my guaranteed entry for NYC Marathon. I think I’m going to be smart and wait until next Sunday to be sure my leg is OK. I’m 99% sure it is and I’ll be fine, but I want to be cautious. It’s the same logic I used after last year’s Lebow and before Fort Lauderdale.

In the mean time, weekly wrap with Wendy and Holly Kim. Subtitle? All the cross training:

  • never miss a Monday: I’ve really enjoyed the Monday routine I re-established in December and wanted to keep it up although I needed a running off day. So I rowed for the first time in about a month and the first long row in nearly two. That’s not a six minute fall off in ability, but rather fidding with YouTube buffering because I cannot get through rowing without a “soundtrack” and for some reason it was being a toad. Oh well. I then had a good, long stretch and roll.
Hi calluses. Calli?
  • Tuesday: I tested the achilles on the treadmill and it started to be annoying, so I decided on another cross train day. 15M on the LateralX almost a year to the day after I first tried it and another 5K row. Between a flare of winter hands and two days in a row of rowing, I’m glad I’m not a hand model.
  • Wednesday: off. Didn’t even get step goal. Start of cold coming on and thought a full off day smart to rest achilles ahead of Thursday’s Central Park hills. Decided the best way to heal is not chase pointless steps.
  • Thursday: office run group expanded to three on one of our coldest runs so far. With an additional person the pace picked up and I was surprisingly able to keep up even on Cat Hill. But going up that hill was also a doozy on my left foot and calf. When we finished, I gathered my stuff from the office and headed to NYRR to collect my bib and hat. Came to love last year’s, but think I like this one even more. I stopped in at the New Balance store to see if the staff thought my shoes were the issue, which I was beginning to think. The staff person did the scan, but surprisingly for that store’s staff, wasn’t helpful so I headed to the Jack Rabbit at Time Warner where I got a little more help. Unfortunately she thought it was probably just that the shoes ran out of miles early. She suggested I stick with my backups and then come in when Lebow is done and “we’ll play” which I think is a good one.
  • Friday: felt like something was pulling at the outside of my ankle, although it wasn’t painful. Luckily I have a flexible offices and sneakers will occasionally fly. Decided to be smart and not run two days in a row. I rowed 5K and then stretched and rolled. Rowing actually made the calf or whatever this is feel really good. Iced when I got home as I’ve done most nights. The frozen roller from my first PF flare is a godsend as the size/shape is perfect.
  • Saturday: I woke, no pain. I dreaded going for a run -not because the wind chill was in the 20s – but because I was worried the shoes weren’t going to fix everything. I finally went out with a plan to run along the water which, when I avoid the ferry stairs, is almost flat. My feet didn’t feel great at 1.25 miles so I doubled back and finished at about 25m. But it was better than Thursday and I think I’ll be OK even if I only run Thursday. Cross train has been good.
  • Sunday: no pain! I still played it smart and didn’t run. I did a mile on the elliptical since the branch open Sunday doesn’t have a LateralX, 2K row, and a long roll and stretch. Officially cautiously optimistic.

Spring 2019 Half Marathon Mileage: 86.13

Plan for the Week:

  • Monday: off, after-work event
  • Tuesday: run or cross train
  • Wednesday: off or cross train
  • Thursday: office run group
  • Friday: cross train
  • Saturday: off
  • Sunday: Fred Lebow Half Marathon.

#MedalMonday, Fred Lebow edition

Sunday dawned early in Central Park

So I’ve been a little secret squirrel with my “training” posts. I knew what I was training for but didn’t want to make it whatever the blog equivalent of “Facebook official” is, because I wasn’t honestly sure if I’d start. Or finish.

All smiles at the finish

Spoiler: I finished!

Engraved medal
NYRR Manhattan Half Details

My first half marathon (!) came in somewhere between 2:40:59 and 2:41:16. Fittingly, my official NYRR time splits the difference.

I decided this fall that if I was going to run a half, I wanted it to be on my home turf. NYRR opened registration for the Fred Lebow Manhattan Half and since it was a course I knew inside & out and relatively cheap for a half, this was perfect.  I was nervous because of the course (PDF), especially two trips around the Harlem Hills but I thought a race that was a tribute to such an NYC running legend was perfect for my newfound love of running. That it was so close to my running anniversary didn’t hurt either.

visiting with Fred after I finished

I started training and it went well, but then it all went to pot due to work and then this crazy weather. The recent injury didn’t help.

an ode to missed workouts

I was missing more workouts then I made. After December’s 15K, the only long run was for my one year runversary. I’m so glad I finally tried and subsequently fell in love with Mile High Run Club because it was their High45 classes that got me through not being able to do hill training in Central Park.

I knew I was undertrained and was determined not to be both undertrained and injured.  The best thing about this course is that like every other Central Park race, I have an out. If I couldn’t, or just didn’t want to finish, I could just walk home.

It never happened today

Splits. Everywhere splits

I started the race with the 2:30 pacers and hung with them until Harlem Hills when I knew that if I was going to finish I was going to have to ease up/walk some. I settled into a “strategy” of walking the water stations and I walked the 2nd lap of Harlem Hill. I surprised myself and “ran” the final Cat Hill after coming off the water station and planning to walk.  I was keeping an eye out for the 10K mark to eat a gel and that 1:12:22 is as close as I’ve come to repeating my first 10Ks (March, June) and wow, what an improvement. Oh yeah, training.

I took water, sometimes two, at each water station except the first. I only had the one gel (Vanilla Gu, my standby) because peanut butter & jelly one was just too much to contemplate at the end. Cinnamon run gum is gross. #Lessons

I can’t honestly say I want to do this race again, or the Shape Women’s Half as the hills (11 in total) are really brutal on your legs and maybe too much for a beginner, but I have until fall to make that decision about the Fred Lebow Manhattan Half 2019. In the mean time I’ll think about how scary a Washington Heights 5K is vs. this. I have to say, the moment I broke out into a giant grin was when I realized I had only 5K left. That’s when I knew I had this. I definitely am not afraid of the Central Park 10Ks any longer, and look forward to those. So mission accomplished, times two.

my Mile High Run Club “graffiti”

Overall, super pleased. I didn’t have a time goal. I wanted to finish smiling and I definitely did that. It felt good and overall it was an absolutely perfect first half. It was “warm” in January, the sun was out, and the other runners/crowd were great. There were moments where I asked myself why I was doing this, and my walk to the subway to get my medal engraved was definitely way more shuffle than walk but I’m still smiling.

I’m definitely taking a few days off, but here’s my running horizon:

  • NYRR Gridiron 4M on SuperBowl Sunday. I haven’t done the 4M loop in Central Park as a race since April and I’m curious what I can do here
  • NYCRuns’ Frozen Penguin, March 11. This was my first 5K and will be a year to the day from that race. I don’t know that I’m doing enough speed work to lower my PR between now and then, but it will definitely be a PR on that course and 5K PR since my last race at that distance were each a hot mess in their own right in June and July.
  • Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. This one is going to be fun.

Possible:

  • The Damon Runyon 5K moved to April. It’s right on the heels of Cherry Blossom, so I’m not sure. Depends on how this week’s rebound goes, but April > July
  • Other NYRR spring races TBD. I’m really not sure if I have any interest in the full marathon, but I may end up with 9+1 in case.

More when I’ve digested this.