Adulting in the time of COVID19

some of this was scrapped from last week. Things I’m proud of so far, quite random and in no particular order and definitely about a 0.5 on a 0-10 of Covid19 preparedness:

      • my apartment is finally settling in, only 7.5 years later
      • I’m washing dishes daily and not eating out of tupperware
        • except when it’s the last portion and then why dirty a bowl?
        • coffee mugs solved by using disposable, oops
      • Bought a Brita and keeping up my water intake
        • no soda before 6, no coffee after 2

Some times it’s the little things.

Crockpot buffalo chicken

Also, please meet crockpot buffalo chicken pasta with feta. I did that Things you learned about yourself while social distancing Facebook thing and cooking is definitely at the top of the list. As I said to Deborah in a comment somewhere, maybe by the time this is all over I’ll manage one of her Meatless Monday posts.

March was  A MONTH, as it has for everyone. March 10th we had a Keep Exploring campaign, and by March 12th the museums had begun to close. COVID19 quickly went from an issue impacting inbound tourism from China to something impacting everyone’s daily life. I really need to re-find that meme about March coming in like a TRex. I’d say I’m glad to see March in the rear view, but I’m not sure April is going to be any better.

My only goal for the month? Consistency, which I touched on Wednesday. Navigating this is all about the little things, and that’s one thing still in my control at the moment.

Weekly Run Down with Deborah and Kim:

good morning world
first athleisure work clothes!
  • never miss a Monday: because I try not to run every day, I seem to miss a Monday every other week. LOL. This was a planned Monday Runday before work as I tried to sync up with Elizabeth to run past one another to see her on her 60th birthday. Our timing didn’t work, but it was still a lush Central Park after two days of rain. I did not have time to do my PT between the run, shower and starting my work day, so this kicked off a trend of PT during (no video) conference calls. I even got official Coach Marcia approval in the Zooma facebook group.  After work I went to my first ever Zoom birthday party. I’d lie and say I dressed up, but I really just added Mardi Gras beads.
  • Tuesday: I realized after Monday’s run that I was .09 away from topping last March. That could not stand, so my morning coffee walk turned into a run. I don’t really count <1 mile as breaking a rule against running three days in a row, but probably won’t make a habit out of it. I had calls at 6:30 and 8:30 so I went for a quick walk before the 6:30
Cucumber!
what a beautiful end to the day
  • Wednesday: one of the things I found on Tuesday’s walk? Cucumbers! I’ve really been missing salads as that’s a work lunch staple, so I was glad to find one to accompany my lunch. I also got in a 4+ mile run through Central Park to start the month off right and get in my Uncanceled Project 5K. That’s going to be all about 5 and 10Ks for me, as I cannot wrap my head around double digit runs, and don’t think it’s healthy (personally – zero judgement to anyone else) to push myself for no reason.
two new books from Little Free Library
Get in Shape Girl!
  • Thursday: hello Beachbody. I’ve had a Beachbody on Demand subscription for nearly a year and didn’t really use it aside from yoga. I decided that if I wasn’t getting out for more than a coffee walk, I had to do something. Enter 21 Day Fix.  I don’t have enough hand weights, but was glad to find these in a corner of my bedroom – really thought I’d donated them. Since one of the books I picked up at the Little Free Library was Camino Winds, I realized I needed to read Camino Island. Luckily the library had 100+ ebook copies. The other book is The Lady Gang’s Act Like a Lady. Whoever maintains this Little Free Library is in publishing as there are so many wonderful ARCs.
I found eggs. And a baby fry pan
  • Friday: oh, hi DOMS. Beachbody is definitely a “real” workout. I skipped ahead to Day 3, upper body FIX as I knew I wanted to run Saturday and I was so sore from Thursday. The Easter Bunny sent me a baby frying pan, and I was oh so happy to make scrambled eggs for dinner.  Like I said, it’s the little things.
a pic to sort of twin with Darlene
I’m a fan
  • Saturday: probably the best day of the week. A late start due to finishing Camino Island, a solid 10Kish run with Central Park in peak bloom, the virtual coffee happy hour with so many of you, a FaceTime date with a friend and phone calls with two others.  It was much warmer out than I expected, and I totally could have gone with short sleeves or even a skirt. I really love the Cool It top though and wish I’d have bought another before they were discontinued. I did take advantage of the flash sale and grab a new Lioness Capri (rad plaid, which I love but is too big. Yay!) and Lotta Breeze Skirt for $20 apiece. Had a store credit, so only paying shipping is winning. My first online clothes shopping since this all began – changing my closets last weekend told me I have more than enough spring/summer clothes.  While running I listened to Mario’s latest Ask Me Anything episode on the Morning Shakeout. I needed a break from my running playlist, music wise. One of the random Strava challenges was via Ladder and when I completed it, I had a choice of 30% off or a free sample pack.  I went with the plant Vanilla, and mixed it with almond milk and PB2. I’m a fan, also impressed with how quickly they got it out.
hello this week’s lunch

Sunday: I am so sore. My left hamstring, my abs. Hurts so good but OW. My nose is quite enjoying this week’s lunch as it cooks in my crockpot. Chicken, ranch seasoning, au jus and pepperoncini. What am I eating it with? No idea. I thought I was done with the store yesterday, but  I need a side. Preferably a green one.

GoTheDist :

Steps went down the tube in March, despite running being up. Gee, I wonder why.  I like having the year on year, so including it all here. Not hitting step goal hasn’t bothered me — I have to start remembering to sync my Fitbit more regularly though.

March:

  • 362,730 steps
  • 161.54 miles run/walked
  • 56.02 miles run

Hey – it’s an easy opportunity to beat the total come March 2021.

Q1 2020:

  • 1,220,353 steps
  • 539.85 miles run/walked
  • 166.27 miles run

Way off last year, except for running. March was  a monster month last year, so again, no surprise.

We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces!

Edit: this post was half written, and then we lost a dear colleague to COVID19 and I deleted a lot as it became irrelevant. Pardon the random collection of what’s left.

I’m OK, just sad. He was an amazing man. Here are some photos another colleague shared.  We don’t know when we’ll be back in the office, and I can’t imagine that day without him stopping at my desk to scope out the candy dish and I feel like this is going to be unsettled until then. The issues with CV19 are many, but among the top is we lose our ability to come together amid crises. It’s testament though to how loved he was that the GoFundMe to bury him and support his family was fully funded in about 36 hours.

Title inspired by something that showed in my Facebook memories. Any guesses?

This is one of the pieces I’m struggling with on work from home. I miss my colleagues. We have phone calls, Slack calls, Zoom calls, but sometimes it was just easier to pop over to someone’s desk and storm the brains.

I’m grateful for Facetime with the minions in my life for smiles. Running? Running is just for running. I do want to do the Cherry Blossom Virtual 10 miler, maybe, but otherwise there are no distances on my program. I’m running when and for how long I want to.

For those of you who lost a lot of races this spring and are looking for a free virtual ultra challenge, Run the Edge’s Uncanceled Project.

Bookses!

On other notes, I was glad to see the Little Free Library between my apartment and the coffee shop restocked. It had been bare of late and I wondered if its curator was taking the books inside for safekeeping when I left one and saw it immediately gone. He restocked it last  weekend and I was happy to continue my take one, leave one policy even if I’m not reading much of late.

Just got this for Kindle, much much lighter than 400+ page hardcover
of course what do I take? Another hardcover. It might make up some for no travel

Weekly run down with Kim and Deborah:

definitely more “Sound of Silence” than “Feelin’ Groovy” going on of late.
I’ve run this so many times, never noticed grandma’s name on the overpass
  • rewind to pick up last week’s unfinished Sunday business. Got out the door for a quick out and back of two ish miles. I realized that while I don’t have enough Simon & Garfunkel on my playlist, it’s usually on the mental playlist. I was almost in tears seeing grandma’s name. It’s not near her bday or passing anniversary, but emotions are weird.
  • missed this Monday: because I ran three days in a row. Was almost wishing I hadn’t when I walk/swam to Target to get some basic essentials to adulting. It’s funny, the things you can live without (Brita filter, pyrex bowl) until you’re home full time, Got the PT space up and running ish and got in a set for the second day in a row.
an oasis of many kinds
  • Tuesday: crisp, beautiful spring day and after work I went avoiding people and hunting cherry blossoms. Cherry Hill still bare, but the Park was gorgeous for a 4+ mile wiggle.
  • Wednesday: short after work walk to drop off some items to a friend who isn’t able to go out. Also put together my new chair and laptop riser, which have made a huge difference toward physical comfort while WFH
obligatory selfail
  • Thursday: who says “long” runs and selfails are for weekends only? Darlene, Elizabeth and I were texting about a simultaneous virtual run and matching, so I tried to take a pic. Otherwise I just ran and took in the evening light. I’ve run a lot more on the East Side of late – not for fear of CP crowds but just because it’s more convenient. I love living so close to the water.
oasis above the highway
Socially distanced and sitting on a trash bag
  • Friday: water is therapeutic. This walk wasn’t even long enough to count for #19for19challenge, but I headed here after work to think about Rally. This end of the park is always quieter as there are no benches, and the only living thing to get within six feet was a dog who was quite confused by a human at his height. NYC gets a reputation as a concrete jungle – although having lived there too, Osaka is way worse! – and I suppose there is some humor in calling pavement a park. But it’s a great oasis over the highway and a great place to read. Yes, this is the home of most of my runrise runs.
Pilgrim Hill, one of my favorite cherry blossom spots
  • Saturday: there were some vague plans to go out early and beat the crowds, rain and do ten for the virtual cherry blossoms since ours will be mostly gone by next week, but I wasn’t feeling it. I did want to get some outside activity before a weekend full of rain, so I got in a couple of pink miles. I had some necessary shopping to do, so I took care of that later and then settled in on the couch to finally finish John Grisham’s The Guardians.
  • Sunday: get out of my PJs, eventually. Cook lunch for the week (yes, for the third week in a row!). Maybe finally switch my closet, although today feels too raw.

Review: Daniel Silva’s The New Girl

eagerly awaiting my turn

I was actually going to put this on Goodreads, but then I realized how many Daniel Silva books I’ve reviewed here over the various iterations this blog has gone through in 17 (!!) years and realized it has become a bit of a tradition.

Also a tradition, attending his signings here in New York. Silva and his publishers have an annual “break the embargo” event at the Barnes & Noble Union Square on the eve of the official publication date which is why I often read his in hard copy. I missed the one two years ago when I was in Montreal, but I’ve been at most of the others in the last ten years. Also poignant with his release date: I was in Israel ten years ago this week and Silva’s writing, albeit fiction, was a huge part of why Israel was on my bucket list.

Spoilers below.

My annual visit to the world of Gabriel Allon with #TheNewGirl. Thank you, @DanielSilvaBook for your time & workds Click To Tweet

Continue reading “Review: Daniel Silva’s The New Girl”

Review: Scott Jurek’s North

Amazon tells me I bought Scott & Jenny Jurek’s North on July 3, 2018, shortly after I finished Eat & Run. Oops, didn’t mean to wait this long to read it. Linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics to discuss this book.

Mom & I, on the AT in Western Mass, August 10, 2014

Let’s start with the ways I am not and will never be Scott Jurek:

  • vegan
  • ultra runner
  • champion ultra runner
  • willing to live out of a van for ~50 days

That said, I really enjoyed this book. Coming off a hike in the Anza Borrego section of PCT and needing a new challenge, Scott and his wife Jenny decided to go for a Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Appalachian Trail. In the interim, this journey took on a lot more significance as he struggled with who he was at a time when he was no longer a competitive ultrarunner and he and his wife struggled to start a family.

The crux of the journey begins with their drive from Boulder, CO to Georgia in the van that would be their home for the next 45+ days as they chased the record. Factoring out a record as that is just not within my ability, I’m not sure which would be harder: hiking or living in a van for two months. They had occasional nights with real beds & showers, but ick. No. Can’t do it.

The photo above is the only segment of the AT that I’ve knowingly walked, although I’ve walked the Long Path near Harriman/Bear Mountain on a number of occasions and probably walked part of where the two intersect. On the Western Mass segment we lasted about twenty minutes and had approximately the same number of mosquito bites. While I love running, I am so not outdoorsy. I have no idea how Jurek dealt with a mystery rash, poison ivy, and smelling like apple cider vinegar as his muscles broke down despite eating 7-9K calories a day.

Both Jureks touched on the contrast between the AT, PCT and Continental Divide Trail being that so much of the US population lives within a day’s drive of a segment of the AT and as result, it has higher hiker (or hicker) volume and all the pluses and minuses that go with that. While they didn’t paint a rosy portrait and acknowledged the possible dangers to Jenny waiting for him or Scott hiking based on the trail’s grim history, they did realize that the access to vegan foods and other staples might not have happened in the past on the AT and/or now on another trail.

While Jenny was his main crew chief, the two of them were joined by other running friends on their 2000 mile journey from Springer Mountain to Katahdin. Horty and Speedgoat were the two who spent the most time, with El Coyote a close second. As Scott and Jenny alternated sections of the book, it was interesting to see both sides of the journey and their individual opinions of the friends who joined them. I smiled when Topher was mentioned as I always enjoyed his antics with Dean Karnazes. I also enjoyed the trail angels they met along the way: the ones who sought them out as well as those who greet all hikers throughout the season. I found it good that Jurek acknowledged others’ opinions on his quest, moving at an overall average of roughly 1.77 mph to set the record, when others took five – six months. For me personally, it was the running angle that made this book interesting – I’ve had no particular desire to read other peoples’ accounts of their trips on any of the hikes. For the same reason I’m intrigued by the Netflix special on Speedgoat’s quest.

I didn’t know going into this whether he was going to set the record, so I’m not going to spoil it for other readers. If you do know the outcome, I still think you’ll enjoy his physical and psychological journey from Georgia to Maine.

  • Did you read this book? If you posted, happy to link to it below
  • What are you reading now/planning to read this summer?
  • Are you a hiker?
  • Have you hiked any of the major trails?

Other Reviews:

Recovery week

Mostly recovery from Pride, the 18+ miles really were fine. My feet were oh so sore on Monday from the March though.

Before I get into the wrap, who else lost their Sunday morning/early afternoon to the World Cup? I love this team!

Random notes:

  • A nice find: although I didn’t spot myself in CheerEverywhere’s PRIDE album, it was a relief to see how many were walking. It was a brutal race.
  • A not so nice find: I lost my first toenail. I don’t actually think it was running so much a stubbing my toe in flip flops, but I’m declaring myself a real runner as a result. LOL. It actually didn’t hurt and I didn’t notice until I looked down and saw the missing polish.

I was mentally and physically glad to have a four day weekend with a bonus day off on Tuesday.

nice words of advice inside Jack Rabbit

 

Experimenting with fueling:

With Rogue training we get 15% off Jack Rabbit purchases and the store’s only ask is that we consider them when making purchases. Considering they have a staff person at the store 2+ hours before opening to let us in to use lockers, I think that request is more than fair. When I arrived for Wednesday’s “quality workout” I realized I’d probably do better with chews. I went with the margarita cliff bloks as they had sodium and I didn’t have Propel or anything. They were perfect. I started taking them after about four or five laps (see below for workout) and I felt strong and not as wilted as I have in the past in summer. Splitting them with another runner was perfect as I’ve found they don’t keep well.

I opted to do the same for Saturday’s hot, humid long run taking one every mile or mile and a half, usually coinciding with a refill of my water bottles. I think sodium will be my go-to in summer when I’m just running with water. One day I’ll get organized when it comes to gels, Nuun or other on the go. This is usually an issue when coming from work so I clearly should stash some there.

What are your favorite summer fuels?

Weekly Run Down with Kim and Deborah:

  • never miss a Monday: running wasn’t exactly in the plans, but since I never got to run Sunday and I woke to a beautiful 65 degree morning, how could I not? Three easy miles along the East River.
toes in the water, ass in the sand
  • Tuesday: a sort of run. I’d hopped down the shore for the night and a friend was staying two towns up. The best way to meet up? Run down the boardwalk. He’s much faster so he made it to Belmar before I even left. We had a nice catchup and then I had a short run back. Good to stretch the legs. Spent the afternoon on the beach with my niece & nephew before heading home.
gnats. all the gnats!
happy, sweaty runners
  • Wednesday: Rogue Training. The prescribed workout
The workout: 400m relays
What?
 
Runners will find a partner of similar pace and do 400m relays alternating between on and off between partners. One partner will run a hard but controlled 400 and then tag their partner to run a hard/controlled lap while partner #1 waits and rests. Partners will proceed this way, alternating laps through 8 laps each for half marathoners and 8-12 laps each for marathoners. To be clear, each pair is doing 16-24 laps while each individual is doing 8-12 laps. There is no specific assigned pace here, but running a hard and controlled effort, starting conservatively and ideally getting a little faster as progressing through the laps.
There can be a group of 3 where 2 are running the laps at the same time.
  • the reality: yep. That. We were a trio and did 12 laps each. I tried to keep them below 10 minute miles, but I kept starting off too quickly and by the end I was just gassed. So yeah, didn’t really meet the goal, but I did my best. We’re really starting to get to know one another and have some silly fun. I’m almost matching in that photo and that makes me kind of sad.  There were so many gnats around conservatory water that they just stuck to us. We learned not to chat on the run lest we eat a gnat. In funny timing, it was right when Wendy and I were chatting about my dislike of getting dirty. My Strava is pretty funny for it as I don’t quite know what to do with my Garmin when there are rests, so it showed some super slow miles. Oh well.
  • Thursday: way too hot and needed a lazy day so I went to the gym for PT and strength training before heading to a friend’s place to watch the fireworks.
icky dirty
  • Friday: long month of work catching up on me, so I just had a short run to the gym to break in my new shoes since the filthiness of the April ones is getting disgusting and because I’ve put a fair number of miles on them since they’re my go to. I capped the day reading by the river to finish Rise of the Ultra Runners. Mental off days are the best.
A bit of motivation on a long run
I hate you Cat! Especially when I see you twice on one run
  • Saturday: another brutally humid day. The program called for seven miles and while I followed what the coach described before we left Jack Rabbit, I ended up with 8.5. I actually realized early that there was no way her route was 7, but I thought it would be closer to 7.5 and decided to follow it. I was not sad when the route did not include the Harlem Hills. Although it was 80%+ humidity, I felt reasonably strong. I was grateful for the shaded portions. I walked to eat the chews and paused during a sightseeing tour of many of the Park’s water fountains, but otherwise ran it in its entirety. Definitely my first summer long run – and I survived. As was the case last week, I went home and crashed in the AC to recover. I rallied later to go for a pedicure, buy a drying rack, and take myself out for sushi.
forgiving a Skirt on second wearing
  • A wardrobe note: I wore Long Haul earlier this spring and did not like it at all. It got buried in my drawer because it slipped to the point of causing chafing and the water bottles didn’t stay put. Saturday morning was so warm and I realized I really didn’t want the extra layer of a belt so I decided to give it another go with the new bottles that came with the belt. Love it! It slipped a little early, but like many said in the Skirt Ambassadors Facebook group, it’s fine once you start to sweat. And sweat I did!. I had the teeniest bit of chafing but that was my own missing a spot lube wise. Not only did the bottles stay put, but having them at the back of my hip vs on the stomach with the belt, they stayed frozen longer. The left one was super easy to reach so I kept going for that one, but right was accessible too.  I don’t know that this will be in regular rotation, I love Cascade, but it’s super helpful to have the water bottle pockets. And to my surprise, I’m learning to drink from plastic, reusable water bottles. The taste is not as bad as I remember from my soccer and softball days.
  • Sunday: I had plans to meet a friend for a shakeout run, but when I woke my knee and lower left calf were super sore and I decided to play it smart and not run three days in a row. I will likely head to the gym later to do some PT exercises.

Total for the week: 19.01

Training total: 50.09 and the same in donation to Joyful Heart for their important work.

Plan for the Week:

  • Monday: run
  • Tuesday: off/cross
  • Wednesday: Jack Rabbit
  • Thursday: shakeout
  • Friday: off
  • Saturday: 9 miles
  • Sunday: off or shakeout

GoTheDist 

June:

  • 535,992 steps
  • 72.69 miles run
  • 235.64 miles run/walked

2019 Halfway:

  • 2,771,601 steps
  • 339.94 miles run
  • 1223.91 miles run/walked

Oh June, you were insane. I think it’s my second highest steps month to go along with my highest running mileage month. I’m below where I was at the halfway point last year, but I don’t care as I stopped pointlessly chasing steps. Garbage mileage, garbage steps. Both bad.

Gym visits, March – August: 32. Eek. Slipping. But can get in these 18 in the next two months

Review and a Race Recap: Matt Fitzgerald, Life is a Marathon

For this week’s Tuesday Topics, I’m linking up with Kim and Zenaida to share a race recap and book review.

Tuesday Topics

I was given a copy of this book to read via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

While Matt Fitzgerald is a name I’ve seen in perusing running titles, this is the first one of his books I’ve read. The title piqued my curiosity when I saw it on NetGalley and decided to give it a whirl. That it took me a week+ to read isn’t indicative of its quality, I just had minimal reading time with friends in town.

Reading @mattfitwriter's latest and running @nyrr's #RunToBreathe Click To Tweet

This book begins with Fitzgerald quitting on a high school race out of stage fright and ends some 20+ years later with his eighth marathon in eight weeks. The latter encompassed a road trip that took him from California to Oregon via Scranton, Boston, Toledo and beyond. What a journey. This book isn’t just a chronological look at his running career or a travelog, but rather the eight marathons are interspersed with his autobiography.

Fitzgerald’s roadtrip companions are his dog Queenie and his wife Nataki. Both figure prominently in his life history, in fact one night he almost squashed Queenie when attempting a return to his apartment after fleeing it when fleeing from one of Nataki’s psychotic breaks. To say the three of them have had an eventful life is an understatement, but this book isn’t a tale of woe so much as the tale of the author’s growth as a man, runner and husband. My one quibble with the book is that the chronology wasn’t always clear, making it challenging to determine whether a particular race had a goal time, or just a goal of finishing.

As he traveled the country to run his eight marathons he met up with local runners – either for a shakeout run or at the races themselves. In some cases these were planned and in others they came about as he was approached while walking into a port-a-potty. One of those he met up with is Lisa from Tech Chick Adventures who I’ve come to “know” through the Weekly Run Down and its predecessor, the Weekly Wrap. I look forward to her review of the book.

All in all, a wonderfully written account of a difficult journey.  I would definitely recommend it to most runners. If you have personal experience with bipolar disorder, you might find some sections to be somewhat triggering. I think Fitzgerald portrays his & Nataki’s journey to live with her diagnosis very well.

***

Boomer Esiason

Movement is a privilege. That’s something my colleague often says when we go for a run, and it’s so true. It’s also something I fought to keep in mind during Sunday’s #RunToBreathe -one of NYRR’s regular four milers which doubles as a fundraiser for Team Boomer, Boomer Esiason’s foundation that raises money in honor of his son with Cystic Fibrosis.

9AM start was nice, and I jogged to the start. It was so liberating not to need all the layers! I wore capris but would have been fine in shorts most likely. Who AM I?!? It was a staggered start and Corral K crossed the start about 11:30 minutes after the front runners. They said this race had about 5,000 runners. It felt like everyone wanted to come out and play in support of a good cause.

I didn’t have a race plan. I didn’t really have a goal. I just ran by feel and walked the water stations as they’re too crowded not to. I tossed my long sleeved shirt at the top of Cat Hill. My Achilles was perfect. My hip was chirpy, but not to the point where it impacted me during or after, although I opted to walk rather than run home. Mile one into two, I wanted to peel off and walk home for no good reason other than I wasn’t feeling it. Then I got into a rhythm and three, four seemed to go quickly. As much as I enjoyed 5-7 mile runs, the first two are always mental torture.

As was the case with the Bronx, some distance helped with my look at this race.  The issues:

  • Running three days in a row: tired legs
  • Cat Hill. I’ve run the West Side rollers a few times lately but other than the office run group I’ve been avoiding Cat Hill. Had to deal with the kitty in the first mile. She made me pay for my abandonment

The results weren’t terrible, but they weren’t good. When compared to other 4 milers, it’s better than 2019 Gridiron when I was more broken and 2018 Achilles when I was sick. Oh and much better than my inaugural #RunToBreathe. I realized early on that my legs were tired and decided to focus on the fact that I was healthy & able to run this race while  that isn’t the case for others.

On to the next. And yes, movement is indeed a privilege.

  • What do you do if you just don’t have it during a local weekly race?
  • Any favorite local races that aren’t destinations, just fun for your community

Running and Reading

If you follow me on twitter, you already know I was a happy little clam at Linda Fairstein’s book signing. I’d say meeting, but this is at least the fifth year I’ve gone, according to her inscription on Terminal City. They’re usually summer releases so this was a nice treat.

ooh! A shiny squirrel

As I was browsing the shelves, I stumbled on Susan Lacke’s new book, Running Outside the Comfort Zone. Like Dean K’s, I have zero desire to do any of these crazy runs, but the book piqued my curiosity, I had a coupon and… well you know how that goes.

Currently Reading: Matt Fitzgerald’s Life is a Marathon (thanks, NetGalley). Review TK as I’m quite enjoying it.

It feels weird to take the PT and training tags off this post. It’s nice to be running for the sake of running these next two weeks and not constrained by an Achilles or needing to follow a chart, such as I actually did that this cycle. Injury kept me from burnout, but I’m still enjoying this moment of reconnecting with why I liked running.

Spring! Sprung!

I’m also slowly building back up. Yes, I just ran three Halfs but my legs are not ready to call that my base.

Weekly Run Down with Kim and Deborah:

  • Monday: ooph. Grant cycle. Was at work way too late, but I got to the gym for some PT. The plan was to get up and walk to work, the reality was the snooze button. Allergies are kicking my ass
Hobbit lunch!
  • Tuesday: planned off, Linda Fairstein signing. At least got in a good walk. And mead. How often do you get mead for a work lunch?!?
runrise! I was out a little later this week
  • Wednesday: another runrise. Surprisingly cold, but oh so gorgeous. I just ran without a plan and got in some of my PT stretches along the river. Life is good.
  • Thursday: office run group. Slightly out of sync in that I forgot to start my watch and then I got a really weird side stitch in mile 2.5 ish. I think it was because I’d had a quick bite less than an hour before, but it wasn’t a lot. Bodies are weird.
  • Friday: off.
all of Central Park’s crocuses!
Ridiculous, but I kind of love it. I was yelling at my phone for being on 3s v 10s delay
  • Saturday: gorgeous day to do loops around the reservoir. Here we go loop de loop! Slowly increasing the long run each week. I picked up the rest of the mileage post-blossom stop to get five but today was a meet and greet as everyone came out of hibernation.
East River run
  • Sunday: amazing what you can get done when you don’t sit down with coffee and your laptop. It was supposed to rain and temperatures subsequently drop, but I woke to no rain and decided it was way too nice to run indoors so I ran to the gym where I did my PT exercises. Nice short shakeout and first time of two decent runs back to back and achilles felt good. Second mile was a run/walk as my Achilles is definitely not up to the big hill.

Plan for Week: kind of unknown with friends in town. What I do know:

  • Monday: off, not running three days in a row
  • Sunday: Boomer Esiason’s #RunToBreathe, 4M which was my first at that distance two years ago. Memories.

GoTheDist:

Mostly TK when I finish today’s steps, but:

March:

  • Steps Walked: 470,694
  • Miles Run: 56.41
  • Miles Run / Walked: 207.11

Q1:

  • Steps Walked: 1,304,053
  • Miles Run: 154.95
  • Miles Run / Walked: 577.28

I’m off pace but AOK with this plan as I healed the Achilles.

13 gym visits toward March -August cycle.

Review: The Plant Based Runner

On Reading

Yay, I can start a Weekly Run Down post with something other than PT, although I am still in and loving PT. This week I wanted to share my review of Jonathan Cairns’ The Plant Based Runner. Note: I received a copy of this book for review, but all opinions are my own.

Running, reading and relaxing in the lead up to the #NYCHalf Click To Tweet

Two main takeaways I loved from this book:

  • Know your why
  • Change the plan, don’t change the goal

Cairns is an overweight, divorced father turned wannabe vegan ultra runner. This book explores his journey between those points.  Although I don’t subscribe to the full extent of his beliefs and dietary choices, I really appreciate the path he took to them. He read a lot and read the information presented with a critical lens to arrive at the place that worked best for him and his progress as an athlete. He’s 100% correct, there’s information out there to support whichever side you wish to follow, you need to know your body and your why. And realize that nothing will change until you do.

I’m still surprised at how I ended up virtually giving up soda almost accidentally. We got more seltzer in the office and I found so long as I had the fizz, I’d drink. You can still pry the diet root beer from my cold, dead hands. I’ve mentioned a couple of times here that what I eat definitely has an impact on how I feel/run, but I’m not yet compelled to give up sugar, dairy and meat. I did love his advantage of Irish (or at least not American-English) slang for this poetry when it comes to refined sugar: white is shite.

Changing the plan vs. goal has been a huge part of this half marathon training cycle for me. I wanted to run three in three months (well really eight weeks!) and while the achilles injury changed the training plan, the goal is on track. The larger goal of the marathon remains on track.

While I have no desire to or interest in running an ultra, I enjoyed following his journey and the interspersed quotes and race recaps. Read more from the author on his blog or enjoy his amazing Instagram photos.

Physical Therapy

When I spoke with my PT about the hip pain on Monday morning, he decided to work on that first and decided it’s not the hip flexor, but rather the TFL. Per google (and LIz who was quicker than I was, “Tensor fascia latae“. Per my PT, it’s common in compensating for stability issues. This whole Achilles issue is similar to when I had a knee injury back in high school. Back, hip. We really are all connected like that old childhood song: leg bone connected to the foot bone. Not to mention all the muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Monday night he gave me the homework of working on breathing, activating my core and pressing my back into the floor. We’re working toward the Dead Bug and since I know I have the coordination of a dead bug, that isn’t going to end well. But we’ll get some laughs in as I try. Monster Walks on my toes are my new favorite.

That said, I still feel like I’m making progress and the Achilles is in a good place for the NYC Half, which is somehow less than two weeks away. It will be a week away by the time this posts. Plan is & remains to have fun and enjoy every step.

NYC Half Goals:

  • Have fun
  • Don’t re injure the Achilles
  • Finish smiling

Yep, that’s literally it. No time goal other than finishing. I may be one and done without some lottery luck, so want to make the most of it.

Weekly Run Down with Deborah and Kim:

  • Monday: snow day PT and a museum press event. The snow was a complete non event, but I’ll take the work from home day to review some documents that are hard to get to in busy open plan office. Capped it off with a lovely sunset walk with Darlene. When we could see the Verrazano Bridge it was surreal to think that in almost eight months exactly we’d be standing on the far side ready to run the city. Fitbit calls this 9.46 miles, I call it: never miss a Monday complete.
  • Tuesday: Darlene and I decided to meet and test our injuries. While it was too cold for a selfie, we got another gorgeous sunset. The weekend’s snow had done a number on the non-paved parts of the park and neither of our legs were doing well with the cold and hills so we took it easy in a three mile run/walk. Slow and steady better than crash and burn ahead of the NYC Half.
  • Wednesday: PT and talk about graduating out after the Half. More work on core and trying to figure out whether I can do Dead Bug. No formal exercise, dinner with friends.
#nevermatch, and proud of it
  • Thursday: as I dressed for our Office Run Group, a friend/colleague mentioned her admiration for my aggressive non-matching. This wasn’t even intentionally bad-I wanted a shirt with thumbholes and the black one is too hard to find sometimes in the dark of my closet and these tights were on top. What’s not pictured as much is the bright orange buff from Liz and neon yellow base layer. Beheaded to get full effect of colors without skin autocorrect. I’m a fan of comfort over matching, but this was some next level nonsense. Alas my coral shoes aren’t running shoes. On the actual run, it was a nice rebound from Tuesday. What I love about running with this group is that it pushes the pace. I know I give up on pace too early when I’m running solo, so this is a nice way to push it. He doesn’t push me beyond what he knows I can do, especially with the injury. Even slowing up as we crossed the pot-holed reservoir track, we had a good time and although I was sore after, I think that was the bitter cold. Post-run was a quick zip to the last open Payless in Manhattan to acquire a backup pair of the Mary Janes I love so much.
  • Friday: plan was to workout before a meeting, but meeting got moved earlier so this was replaced with a quick row and abbreviated PT exercises after work and before seeing a show. Patricia Kalember as Gloria Steinem is amazing and a behind-the-scenes tour of NYPL was pure magic. It’s rare that I see a piece of theater twice in a short window, but this was magic and resonant.
heaven is a place on earth
“A dream is like a river ever changing as it flows and a dreamer’s just a vessel that must follow where it goes.”
  • Saturday: that thing I said about what I eat impacting how I run? Yeah. It was a planned off day but the weather was remarkably decent and I wanted to go out so decided on a riverside shake out. I could not figure out why I had absolutely nothing in the tank. I’ve fueled many a run on cheerios and coffee. Why not this one? Oh self? You had a brownie for dinner last night. Turned this into a walk and some outdoor PT.
Happy drowned rat in Sidewinder Lotta Breeze capris
NYRR goodie bag
present to myself
  • Sunday: NYRR/New Balance hosting a shakeout run ahead of the NYC Half. Also a shakeout for my new capris which I want to wear for the Half. PURPLE! The weather was horrid and we lost an hour of sleep due to the clock change? What do I do? Play hopscotch to avoid puddles and had a blast for ~4.5 miles. It was windy too and sometimes wasn’t clear whether we were being hit with rain or river spray! We set off in 5M increments and I quickly realized the one I set off with wasn’t happening so ran on my own for most of miles two and three before dropping back to run with a duo of coach and runner who had run DC yesterday! and were moving way more my “speed”. Proud of myself for approaching strangers in the group run and we had a fun chat. Could I have finished faster? Absolutely. Was it more fun not to be alone? Yes. The ponchos I bought ahead of FLL were perfect and other than the neck area where rain got in because I couldn’t keep the hood up in the rain, I was dry. Was so glad for dry socks and shoes back at the Run Center though. Also awaiting us there was a free goodie bag that included the mug, fuel above and a 20% off coupon with which I treated myself to a hat. It’s purple! I never thought about a running hat as I so rarely wear ballcaps but the Yankee one I wore for Lebow and FLL is too hot for summer and gets gross, so curious to give this moisture wicking, performance one a go. Especially if I follow my current whim and wack my hair off in a few weeks.

Plan for the Week:

  • Monday: off, dinner with a friend
  • Tuesday: run?
  • Wednesday: PT
  • Thursday: run
  • Friday: volunteer at the Expo, maybe cross train. Finally saw the shirt & medal. I like the medal, and think I like the shirt color. Since I didn’t like the one for Poland Spring and won’t wear it on race day, I likely will not be wearing green for St. Pats.
  • Saturday: off
  • Sunday: NYC Half Marathon

Physical Therapy: Week 2 and Half Marathon Recovery

#RunFTL shirt

One thing I forgot to touch on in either the weekly wrap or the race recap is how much I loved the A1A Half Marathon shirt. Last year’s was cute, but the cut was infuriating and I almost never wore it because I’m forever tugging at it. This year I switched it at the expo for a large (over sizing anxiety) and it fits perfectly. Memo to shirt makers: take note from the mermaid, women have boobs.

I runfess I like to treat myself after achievements like a half marathon. Luckily through #GoTheDist I’ve learned to be more conscious of non food rewards. This week’s damage was two new skirtsport skirts. I’ve enjoyed them, but running in the Lotta Breeze for the Half was just perfection. The cut is cute but the pockets are a game changer. Also, I wore a pair of formerly leggings to PT Friday morning and time to purge what doesn’t look good on me.

Key learning in this week’s physical therapy sessions: ankle stability and balance go hand in hand. I know, DUH! But somehow this never clicked for me. My balance is generally poor – I was laughably bad when Wii Fit was a thing – but better on my left side, normally. Not so much with the whimpering Achilles, but I really love these stability/balance exercises. On the dip into heel raise from a step I really felt the calf shaking with fatigue on the third set.

Speaking of Wii Fit, I wish I still had the board for some of the heel dips and raises as standing on the stairs in my apartment building gets old.

NYRR upgrade

As I work in the cultural world I’m fairly familiar with the membership upgrade offers. Buy now, get x months free; upgrade and get Y benefit. I hadn’t really looked at the NYRR ones beyond basic member until I got an upgrade offer. The cost difference is about $60 and includes a free race registration (value ~$20), but I got to thinking of all that NYRR has given me: the free programming at the RunCenter, the wonderful people I’ve met, the growth of myself as a runner. Because I can afford it, it seems the right thing to do to give back more. Added benefit: it opened up a volunteer opportunity for the NYC Half Expo so I can unlock 9+1 in case I want to do the Marathon again in 2020.

Currently reading: Phil Hewitt’s Outrunning the Demons, barely in time for Runners’ Bookshelf’s February choice. I enjoyed Meb for Mortals and seem to be on a bit of a running kick. That’s helped by the fact that they were pretty much the only books I downloaded to my new Kindle last week.

Also this week: I posted my recap of the A1A Fort Lauderdale Half.

Weekly Wrap: with Wendy and Holly. That this is the last weekly wrap makes me sad. I’ve only done it less than a year. I met some of you who were Cherry Blossom 10M ambassadors when you found my recap, and after Wendy and I met in Runners’ Bookshelf she coaxed me into linking up since I posted my own wraps anyway. I finally joined, and I’m so glad I did. I’ll check out #RIOTS, the new linkup Wendy mentioned and will try to be better about posting in rather than just reading the weekday linkups.

  • Monday: I felt pretty good after the Half, thanks to the swim. Mom and I had some errands to do and I wanted to dip my toe in the ocean for it to be an official Florida visit so we walked to the beach. I felt it in my achilles on the bridge over the intracoastal and by the time we got back to the condo I felt I should ice it. One of the best goodies in the expo bag was a hot/ice pack from Cleveland Clinic. It’s perfect. Overall, felt good and didn’t stiffen too much on flight home.
  • Tuesday: I was off work and took advantage of that with a weekday outdoor run. Yay. The shakeout felt really good and I wasn’t sore at all. I could have gone longer but decided it wasn’t smart to push it if I really want to pull off two long runs ahead of the NYC Half. I decided a much needed mani/pedi was more interesting than steps and didn’t even get my step goal. Funny how much I’m commute dependent on that.
  • Wednesday: hi, winter. So glad I ran outside yesterday because it’s a slip and slide now. 5K row after work. PT in the morning and he was impressed at how my Achilles handled the half marathon but found some huge knots in my calf. I can understand why runners often have massages. Besides the existing, he added:
    • side steps on toes
    • Single leg RDLs
    • “sneaky” lunges on toes. This one was a challenge, I don’t have lunge flexibility
  • Thursday: return of the office run group which in my head just sounded like Eminem’s Slim Shady. Why I thought of that song, who knows?! Our usual lap in quite good time even accounting for a slower mile two on account of the reservoir transverse being a dark, muddy, potholed mess. My achilles felt good as was my breathing through this winter cold.
  • Friday: thrilled to wake up and do my morning commute with absolutely no pain from Thursday night’s run. First in a couple of months. I got a good number of steps in, but took a rest day from the gym because I’m fighting a cold and needed some down time. PT again in the morning. Mine had one of the assistants helping and the assistant asked if I ever did a “single leg RDL” I said I had no idea what that was, but to show me. I had the prior Wednesday, but I don’t quite speak PT acronyms. Those are fun, save for my lack of balance. Added today:
    • Side plank clamshells. Oh those are evil but I kind of loved it
    • Single leg heel drops on a leg press machine.
    • This really complicated one where I bent the plant knee, slid the other foot out to the side and then behind me in a kind of curtsy. It took me about two sets to figure this one out. I’m not sure which is worse, my coordination or my balance.
  • Saturday: complete rest day beyond PT exercises and errands, want to kick this cold to the curb. Could I have run or hit the gym? Absolutely, it’s not a bad cold. But don’t want it to linger. and yes, now do you have to let it linger is an earworm. And then I spotted this Sarah Marie shirt in an eblast. That might have to happen one day. Funny of the day: I was frantically trying to find a charger for my vacuum before my cleaning guy came. I told him there might be an issue. Not to worry, he was coming from another job where the client didn’t own a vacuum (how?!) and he had his on him.
  • PT with a view
kinda like I’m channeling Kim. Did someone say heel drops?
  • Sunday: I wanted to be outside. The weather was overcast but better than forecast. The vague plan was a long run, but I knew that wasn’t happening pretty quickly. I don’t like spitting. I don’t mind it at all when others do it courteously, but I hate the feeling in my throat. What’s one of the side effects of a cold? Crap in the back of your throat that you choke on and… you see where this is going. So I decided to go about a mile and then do my PT laps there. Stretches are fine in my apartment, lunges and side steps not so much. I then jogged back to the stairs for some scenic heel drops. Now time for some quality time with a book and a bath.

Plan for the week:

  • Monday: PT and cross train after work
  • Tuesday: run
  • Wednesday: last? PT or find out whether insurance approves more. Off, after work event
  • Thursday: office run group
  • Friday: crosstrain
  • Saturday/Sunday: long run depending on weather.

Tuesday Topics: Run Like Duck

We know judging a book by its cover is bad.. but the title is OK, right? When Liz blogged about Run Like Duck, I was immediately intrigued. It just sounded like a fun book.

Tuesday Topics

Linking up with Kim and Zenaida to share whether the book was as good as it’s title was funny.

Spoiler: it is. I’ve read a number of books about running, but this is definitely top five. I was also happy to find the author is a pretty funny read on twitter.

Running and reading, a perfect pair. My review of @montythemole's Run Like Duck Click To Tweet

Atkinson is a fat British man who was encouraged by a friend to go for a run, and ultimately ended up running ultras and a Quadzilla (four marathons in four days) en route to joining the 100 Marathon Club. That’s not to say this is a book just for those who want to go extremes, I’d say it’s more applicable to the everyday runner than Dean Karnazes’ books. He started where many runners do, running after dark in his neighborhood and gradually increasing his distance. He also balanced his running journey with his family life: his wife crewed for him in his 100M run and occasionally he had to check the finances before signing up. I feel like the latter is something that doesn’t often come up in running books. It’s as if there’s a race fee fairy that pays them.

Atkinson shares race and training recaps, as well as specific tips applicable to the race he ran. I like how he established traditions such as the Milton Keynes Marathon which he made the effort to return to each year as a measure of tracking his own growth. I also like that he makes no claim that he’s perfect – he still enjoys McDonalds and bacon & egg sandwiches as breakfast. A word of advice, don’t read the chapters on ultrarunning if you’re hungry, the aid stations will make you hungrier. I felt for his chafing on one of his ultras.  He still occasionally forgets his race bib in the hotel room and struggles with pacing-there’s no magic in this story. He also acknowledges that not every race is perfectly organized.  Running isn’t perfect and he doesn’t paint it out to be.

Although parkrun hasn’t yet expanded to NYC, I love his tips and information about it as well as other races I will probably never run. The advice is applicable to many other runs. I think I finally understand the role of tail running, though I had to chuckle at the image when he runs to a parkrun, is late and comes up from behind said tail runner probably catching him or her by surprise. One thing to note, I was slightly confused at the timing on some, so make sure to pay attention to the dates/marathon numbers in the chapter heads.

I think there is a lot in this book for both beginners and experienced runners, and many runners will see a bit of themselves in the author. Excited to share this book I enjoyed with you, enter to win a signed copy. I’ll pick a winner on Sunday, January 13.

  • Any favorite running reads?
  • Any books you’re looking forward to reading in 2019?
  • If you need running ideas, The Runners’ Bookshelf on Facebook is one of my favorite sources along with Wendy’s book club.