2017, you fabulous beast

It’s a wrap. December was a struggle, but that’s what a challenge should be. It’s the first time I’ve ever had to fight for 400K and it wasn’t in the bag until this ridiculously awesome workout.

December:

  • 408, 394 steps
    • 9 days below goal (:( but not unexpected and better than December 2016’s 12)
    • December 2016 was 306,676. That’s insane!
  • 179.18 miles run/walked
  • 52.89 miles run

Q4:

  • 1,322,011 steps
    • 12 days below goal
  • 577.08 miles run/walked
  • 158.08 miles run

2017:

  • 5,097,869 steps
    • 54 days below goal (vs. 93! in 2016)
  • 2,205.56 miles run/walked
  • 472.41 miles run

Races:

  • Frozen Penguin, my first ever run – 5K
  • Central Park Spring Classic 10K
  • Run to Breathe – 4M
  • Run 4 the Warriors – 5K
  • Retro 5 Miler
  • Women’s Mini 10K
  • Squirrel Stampede 10K
  • Poland Spring Kickoff 5M
  • Ted Corbitt 15K

I am insanely proud of myself, and I’m just going to leave it there. Am I worrying about 2018? Of course. I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t.  I’ve revamped the spreadsheet (and added this one) to take into account the monthly increments needed to hit my goals. I think I’ll still call it #GoTheDist even if that appears not to be back for 2018. As I just said to my RTY 2018 teammates:

It’s on like Donkey Kong!

2018 Goals

Like 2017, I’m setting goals for 2018 before 2017 is done. I’m a little nervous about December, but I’ve made my peace with falling slightly below goal as I will far exceed December 2016 and that’s what this is all about. More on December later.

Thanks to this little adventure of running, 2017’s goals have been blown out of the water. The only real changes I’m making for 2018 is doing away with the spreadsheet vs. non-spreadsheet goals and cutting back on the reading challenges. A goal isn’t better or worse if it’s a spreadsheet goal, and the reading challenges just weren’t doing it for me, hence why I basically stopped posting about them. So here we go:

  • 5,500,000 steps.
    • I’m going to finish 2017 somewhere around 5,100,000 and I think this is doable as a stretch goal. I’m probably not doing the Saunter, but I’ll run more so a wash? At minimum I want to repeat this year’s total.
  • 2,018 miles run/walked sooner than November 30 and with more running than walking.
    • Aim for 2,500 miles run/walked. I’ll finish somewhere between 2,200 and 2,300 this year and so that seems doable?
    • If I’m on a team again, aim for 2,017 prior to July 1 and 5,000 miles. We’re at ~3,700 this year but that’s mostly lack of syncing than anything else.
  • Run 780 miles
    • This will likely need some revision as I’m still in a place where I don’t know what I’m capable of. This number is based on a slight increase in my monthly mileage goal over twelve months. So we’ll see. I think I can do more but, more on that later.
    • Revised: changed this to 700 miles on March 24. It makes way more sense.
  • Repeat most of the races I did in 2017 to see progress, but also find some new ones.
    • Finish my January race. I’m worried because I’m undertrained, but I think it’s mostly mental. It will be a PR as it will be my first at that distance, and it will be a baseline. That said, if it feels like I’m going to injure myself, I’ll take the DNF.
  • Run a half marathon and a ten miler.
    • Maybe both of those will be destination races.
  • Train smarter. I spent too much of the summer with nagging injuries. I think I understand why they happened, and know I need to be better with core and stretching. To that end I asked Santa for and received a foam roller. It will help. I also need to do more strength training.
    • Stop obsessing about pace. I alluded to this when I wrote about learning but couldn’t really flesh it out. Like when I “quit” on C25K and let the 30m duration go, I think this will be better for my running. I cannot simultaneously run longer and worry about my speed. That said, I do want to regularly stay below 11m because I know I can at the distances I’m comfortable with (8-10K).
    • But I want to run a sub 30m 5K. If RunTheYear does the 4x5K challenge again in June, that might be the month.
    • ETA December 29: I didn’t think a sub 60m 10K was doable but this run and the progress I’ve made since March makes me realize it might be, so sub 60m 10K by December 31, 2018.
  • 36 months of 300K steps
    • no brainer since 400K has been my new target, but want to keep the streak going.
  • 12 months of 400K steps
    • This has the potential to be 22 months, but I’m not sure about December yet. May pull a rabbit out of a hat though
  • 2 months at 500K. I had one this year, think I can find another.
    • ETA 12/31: total was 54 in 2017. I’m going with 50, and the goal is 12K. Accepting December will be bad, January should be better.Fewer days below goal than 2017 (actual number TBC). Thinking of raising goal to 12K after a year at 11K since average is 13.5K+ even without the Saunter. ETA 2: dropped this in early January 2018. Details.
  • 90 books read. Likely won’t get there this year but I want to try for it again. No other pages, etc. although I like the backlist one, so may find a 2018 challenge for that.

It’s a lot, but goals are good and motivating.

More on this when I wrap 2017.

Here’s to 2018

Mile High Run Club: Mental edition

I knew I wanted to work out tonight and didn’t have the attention span to stay on the treadmill at the gym. So I checked Mile High Run Club’s schedule and saw there was something called a Jingle Bell Jog on the calendar for 7PM. It was The Distance, which I did not like the first time I tried. But I figured if it was marketed as a jog I might be able to hang on, and I booked it.

When I got there I realized this was no ordinary “jog”. It was a class taught by the Mile High Run Club founder. Eek! Should I bail. Nope, you’re there. The credit is spent. Do this. I’d actually heard Debora Warner speak and I was curious, if intimidated, to have a class with her.

The class was awesome. Because it was a racing version where there would be male and female winners for who covered the most distance (100% not me!), it was way more on “flat ground” (1.0 incline, flat ground in Mile High speak) . I think that’s what made it doable. That and I decided early that I was going to walk the recoveries vs. trying to run them. That’s where I am right now, and that’s OK. My only goal was to finish, and I did!

Mile High Run Club: Run/Walk The Distance

I was pretty proud of that. I set and (mostly kept) my levels as follows:

  • Level 1: 5.0 – this mostly didn’t happen as I dropped to walking, but it was my base and warmup
  • Level 2: 5.5 – this made sense as it feels like it has become my flat ground “race pace”
  • Low Level 3: 5.8
  • Mid Level 3: 6.0
  • High Level 3: 6.1
  • Level 4: 6.5-6.7 (!)

The breakdown of the workout was a follows:

  • five minute warmup
  • four five minute efforts, the first two included the only two hills at 4.0 and 6.0 incline
  • two four minute efforts that were exact same
  • a three minute effort
  • a two minute effort

I think I set my levels right as I didn’t have to lower any of them once into the interval and I was able to sustain three minutes at 5.8 and 6.0 which is definite progress for me. The final interval / effort is the one I was most proud of. The first minute was a runners’ choice (I went with 6.0) and the second was level four sprint, which I started at 6.5 and found enough oomph to take it to 6.7 WOW. In theory that means I could have gone harder earlier, but I don’t think so. That extra smidgen in the tank was barely that.

Maintaining 5.5 on short hills, doable. Maybe one day it will even lead to maintaining it across Central Park hills. A girl can dream

I really, really enjoyed this class. The music was great (Guns ‘n’ Roses is perfect especially Sweet Child of Mine to close it), the atmosphere was fun and not competitive and it just all clicked. More learning? I guess. I had the chance to speak with Debora and that was fun. I didn’t find her to be an intimidating coach at all even if the class was geared toward a much higher level than where I currently am.

The thing I really like about all but one of the Mile High classes I’ve taken is the genuine interest from the classes in each of us. They all seem genuinely interested in why people are taking the classes and what they’re getting from them.  I still don’t get the big deal about these treadmills, but I love the classes.

I still have no idea what “my” pace is, or how any of this is going to turn out in 2018, but in the mean time I’m following the advice of my bracelet

Enjoy the Journey

 

***

  • Strava, you’re going to be the death of me. Round up in minutes and down in mileage. Top is watch, bottom is Strava. *glare*
dumb Strava
  • One thing that I forgot in yesterday’s post-that popped into my mind today when I was trying to follow post-class stretches. I cannot follow aerobic instructions. Run at x speed for y time? Done. Stretch with this foot forward? Nope. Not a chance. It was comical in the NYRR warmup on Tuesday since I’d bonk the person next to me when invariably leaning in the wrong direction. At least tonight it was just on me. And I can absolutely laugh about it.

 

  • Another nice moment tonight: as I headed out of the office, I already had a possible excuse. When packing my gym bag last night I somehow forgot a sports bra. Oops. That’s one thing I don’t keep at the office-soon to remedy-and I thought about bailing. Since I’d already reserved the class I knew the credit was committed so I decided to check Duane Reade. Of course they sell them-they sell everything. Was it the best? No. But it was Hanes and did the job. Post-laundry, where it will hopefully lose its ability to make a black sweat stain on my back, it will live at work.

Winter Running: #TedCorbitt15K Chapter

Pre and post race faces

I DID IT!

The middle facial expression cracks me off because I look like I was miserable, but I had so much fun. And yes, I take responsibility for the snow.

I got a text Friday night that they’d make the decision about the race at 6 AM and like Poland Spring, I was half hoping they’d cancel. It’s not that I’m anti snow, but I was nervous about it being slick and the cold. The text confirmed the run was a go, and so was I.

not so Flat Cari as I was draped on ladder

After finding the Cuddl Dudds too warm at the Turkey Trot, I decided to go without this time. So clothing was:

  • one of many ridiculous pink leggings I own. Like all my tights, these are way too long so were cuffed up. I think they’re Danskin. There wasn’t much wind in the forecast, so I went without over layer. This was a good decision.
  • Turtle fur neck warmer and beanie, perfect choices.
  • Shirts: a long sleeved shirt with thumb holes, a t-shirt from a summer race and a long sleeved RBX shirt I’ve worn often
  • Random grab before leaving the house: windbreaker I bought for Giants game as I thought it might be helpful against wind. I carried it most of the Poland Spring run, but wore it the whole time Saturday. Its pockets came in super handy as I had too much crap for my pouch. (None of which I used, more on that later).
  • Socks: random NewBalance ones.
  • Nothing new on race day violation: new headphones because my neon green ones finally died.

Honoring Ted Corbitt’s legacy was awesome. It was nice to hear his son speak about his work continuing his father’s legacy. I’ve come to the realization though that while I don’t mind and even quite enjoy winter running, I hate waiting around in the cold for the runs to start. Although it was flurrying more than snowing, this was exceptionally true on Saturday.

Some other learnings:

  • Running isn’t half mental. It’s 80% mental. Or at least it was for me this past week. Between fighting the cold and not having run more than five miles in a few weeks, I was convinced I wouldn’t finish. During the first lap I was convinced I was bailing at the end of it and just going home. Did I hurt? No. Was I struggling physically? Nope. Something kicked into gear when I passed start and kept going.
Mapping the world
  • The “West Side Rollers” aka Three Sisters aka the hills on the western side of the reservoir were worse for me than Cat Hill. Maybe because they were longer? Definitely not a factor of more tired legs as they were in mile 1/4 whereas Cat HIll was mile 3/7.

Splittsville!
  • I’m so glad mile 8 came in under 12 at 11:59 because psychologically that was so big. I know where the 10:29 came from – I just wanted to be done. Not sure about the 10:54 but I’ll take it. Overall I’m really impressed with the overall pace even though the splits are all over the map. I’m not sure I ever really found a rhythm, but I think that’s to be expected with my longest run ever and first at this distance. Once I came around the bottom of the park on the second lap I did just zone out and lose myself in my music.
    • This was also about where I started walking through the water stations. A combination of cold (illness)/cold (weather)/minor asthma flair meant running and drinking = choking but I knew I needed to drink more so this was my solve. Combined with two stretch breaks to work out a hip kink, I think this got me through the second lap. Very OK with this.
    • Losing yourself… Right. I forgot about my gels. Actually, that’s not true. I remembered around mile 5 but my hands were too cold to even try to open them. So I did this run on zero food. Oops.
  • Ascent is b0rked. I noticed this on Roosevelt Island too. Time to ignore it.
  • Feeling strong? Well not exactly strong, but neither did I feel depleted. My legs felt it — and they’re still sore today – but cardio wise I felt solid. 9.5 ish miles wasn’t too much which floors me considering how short my running tenure has been. I think this is the Mile High Run Club classes paying off. This probably also means I can push the pace.
Overall Ted Corbitt place details
NYRR races in 2017
  • As usual, Runkeeper is slightly off from NYRR, but I will continue to use Runkeeper as that has all my data. It’s amazing that I finished ahead of almost 600 people. Didn’t feel that way at all.
  • 5K longer and only took me 15m longer to finish this race vs. my first with NYRR. To see that progress laid out is just. WOW.
    • This is probably my last race on the year unless I do New Years’ Eve. Hell of a 2017 either way

I’ll likely return to this once I’ve thought on it but this post has taken me two plus days already and I didn’t want to lose any thoughts..

Other workouts last week:

  • Entirely uninspiring hills workout on gym on Tuesday. 3.2 miles in 34:58. Was probably meant to be 35m.   I wasn’t feeling 100% and think it was a better than nothing.
  • Really good High45 on Wednesday where I felt good despite a walk break or two. I cracked 4 miles in that span for the first time in a class. Progress. I really like Ryan’s class. He & Rich V definitely my favorite coaches.

Plan for this week:

  • I don’t know. I tried to run Monday and my legs said nope, so I rowed 5K. Beat my PR by four seconds which I only realized when looking at the log book now.
  • Gala is Monday 12/18 so work going to be crazy. I will get 2-3 runs in though.
  • Steps are proving to be a challenge. I’ll get there

 

Workouts, Week of 11.27

Between the 2,017 and November recaps, I almost missed this one.

I can’t really say this week went as planned as I didn’t have an exact plan, but it went well.

Hills with another pair of new shoes
  • Tuesday, I hit the gym with a plan to focus on hills, and that’s what I did while simultaneously trying out a new pair of shoes. Same model as my favorites, but a new to me color. Workout went well and they’re a keeper. Everything was coming up 5s. 5+ miles, 55 minutes, 5.5 speed. I was happy with it.
Mile High Distance
  • How exactly did I lose nearly a minute in pace in two days? A very good question. The answer: I finished a meeting near Mile High NoMAD and popped my head in to see if they had a class/slot. They did, but it was distance and I said why not. Distance is only fifteen minutes longer than High45 but I really felt that especially with the added time on hills: and 8% incline. I walked way more of the Level 1 intervals than I do in High45, but I didn’t quit. I call that a win. It was certainly a challenging workout. In hindsight, I was also on the verge of a cold, which didn’t help. I think I’m going back to High45 for a while, but it was certainly fun to try The Distance.
Sunday Runday
  • About that cold and that pace…. I took Saturday off to the extent that I only left the couch to get soup and it paid off because the run felt OK Sunday morning. I probably could have gone for another lap or pushed the pace, but opted to be better safe than sorry with a race this weekend. Glad for no asthma flare even with a cold and I think I’ll be healed ahead of Saturday. A lower mileage week, but one I was OK with.
Medal Hanger

I got home and then set to finally putting up my birthday/Black Friday/2,017 miles present to myself. I’ve been eyeing these on Gone for a Run for some time and sure enough, there was a sale. I really like how it came out. The front bib isn’t the prettiest, but it gets pride of place since it was my first. Besides having a place to display them, I’m glad to have the space back on my coat rack and cork board where they used to live. Also, non food rewards are the best

Plan for the week:

  • Monday; rested cold. Cold weather running panel at NYRR
  • Tuesday; gym. About 4-5 miles
  • Wednesday; gym or maybe Mile High Run Club class.
  • Saturday; 15K EEK! I think I’m ready, but nervous if this cold isn’t totally gone. I picked up the shirt today when a the cold weather panel and cannot wait to earn it because it’s gorgeous. Even if it snows.
Ted Corbitt 15K

2,017 Miles, Done!

2017 Run the Year medal

When Caryn first told me about the Run the Year challenge late December/early January, I was curious but knew I’d need to pair up because there was “no way” I could do it on my own. I was just coming off my best ever year for #GoTheDist and I was worried about duplicating that. With a little goading, I signed up for the basic version since I really wasn’t sure about this happening.

But if I’ve learned one thing through all these years of #GoTheDist it’s that I love spreadsheets and tracking so I can see my progress and at some point I decided to order the medal. It’s an awesome two sided medal with ‘Make Fit Happen” at the top of the rim, and the months of the year at the bottom. And somewhere in this challenge, “make fit happen” began to happen.

I…

  • began to run
  • transferred my love of spreadsheets to running
  • graduated C25K despite “quitting” C25K
  • ran my first 5K
  • ran away from “I can’t”
  • ran a 10K and 4M race with Road Runners
  • decided to pair Run the Year with Joyful Revolution Athletic Club to raise money for Joyful Heart
  • ran four 5Ks within the month of June
  • (we) hit 2,017 as a team and I decided to try to do it solo while trying to hit 500 miles run on the year
  • ran 10K just because I wanted to, not because it was a race distance
  • joined the Amerithon challenge
  • spent the summer falling in love with and chasing PRs (and learning math!) while fighting injury and not quitting
  • found a new gym so I could keep running when outdoor, weekday running wasn’t an option
  • ran the Harlem Hills because I wanted to, not because it was part of a race
  • made running Facebook official
  • started following a training plan
  • tried and loved a class even though I’m not a class person and thought I couldn’t do it
  • ran five miles on the treadmill in 55m at 5.5 speed
  • RAN THE YEAR!

 

Shazam!

 

I thought I could hit it by year-end. A couple of weeks ago I realized it was a definite. It was only this past week that I realized I could pull off November thanks to a(nother) insane steps month. Details on that TK this weekend when month end numbers in) so I pushed hard. How was I rewarded? With 60 degree weather in November and to quote a friend:

What a beautiful day for your 2017th mile!!

One unexpected bonus to this challenge is how much I learned about myself.

I learned:

  • what you eat matters as far as how you run
  • sometimes fun runs mean more than the watch
  • that I actually do like running for the better part of an hour but still have no idea what pace I’m capable of
  • my body reacts differently to running in different seasons. My exercised induced asthma isn’t gone, but seems to be only the occasional flare
  • running makes me want to write again and rereading these posts is a great look at this amazing journey
  • I AM A RUNNER
  • that I’m capable of so much more than I thought

The last is really what this (ongoing, it’s definitely not ending with the end of this challenge) journey is all about. I am going to finish 2017:

  • lighter than when I started
  • having run more than 450 miles! (I’m at 417.4 now)
  • with about 10 NYCRuns, NYRR and other races run where I didn’t finish last in nine. (Yeah, about that not going to race thing….)
  • raising more money for Joyful Heart

Has been an amazing year and I can’t wait for 2018

I can finally turn the medal over. Crushed It!

Workouts, Week of 11.20

This week shook out almost but not exactly as I planned. Story of our lives, no?

Mile High workout while reading
  • Tuesday – High 45 at Mile High Run Club. As I was walking in I saw this wonderful sign. I’m really trying not to overbuy this holiday season, choosing experiences and things of a true value/need. Another three pack definitely hit the spot.The class was good. It was with Rich V. who I took my first class with, and I really like his teaching style. I feel comfortable. Also liked that the class was rather sparse so it felt like there was more one on one attention. Part of me is toying with trying The Distance next, but I think I need to get a little more comfortable first with High 45. Maybe one more. Tonight’s Gu, Lemon Sublime. OK but nothing spectacular. There are photos of the studio online, but they have a no phone sign, and I respect that, hence the weird background photo for Runkeeper. That was while I was reading Race Everything on the train home for the long holiday weekend.
Flat Cari, ready to brave the elements
  • Thursday – a Turkey Trot with a 26 year history! I knew it was going to be cold, I hadn’t realized it was going to be penguin territory cold so I was glad for the race shirt, even though I didn’t love it, as another layer. I wrote up the race itself on BibRave, but this was also a fun test of what I could do elevation wise as miles one and two were pretty hilly before we hit the lake shore.  Best part? Coldest run yet by far and no asthma flare! Hands were too cold to open gel, so didn’t have it until after. Peanut Butter was good. Definitely better than peanut butter / chocolate which almost sounds like heresy.

 

Spot the splits with crowds. Also, nearly negative splits!
Chip time, didn’t get my pause to adjust layers in mile 2

Yeah, layers adjustment needed. The long underwear were a little too warm once I got going. I didn’t have them as the top layer because I wasn’t sure how pins would go so I had to shed top layer and fight static. Definitely a learning process for further winter runs. So I finished with four shirts, but just the tights on the bottom. Not perfect, but it worked. It was helped by staying in car with heat running before heading to the start.

 

Trotting across the finish line! Thanks Athlinks

A first for me, there’s a video of me crossing the finish. Thank goodness for ridiculously loud leggings. All in all it was a beautiful if frigid morning and I made good time even with the crowds and needed wardrobe adjustments.

  • Saturday – unplanned quick three mile jog with a friend of a friend who was in town for the holiday weekend wanted someone to run with. Sometimes I seriously don’t recognize myself. I had the watch on for distance, but we weren’t really worried about time so much as moving. No photos? Who am I!
  • Sunday – yep, screwing up week of again. But happy with this workout. I didn’t have an exact plan, just that I didn’t want to do the Harlem Hills after Tuesday and Thursday, so I did my usual and headed north at 83rd Street. The down side of a relatively nice November day was super crowded roads so around mile 3.5 at W. 72nd (run ended up in two due to trying to pause and accidentally ending run) I decided to double back and go north along the Lake and come back south through the lakeside ramble.
Beautiful fall colors!
  • What a perfect decision that was. Not just because of Mother Nature’s magic, but also because it required more technical running then I’m used to so this was more challenging than a weekend longer run. The leaves on the stairs were an interesting additional challenge but it was a beautiful segment of the run where I wasn’t playing human dodg’em. 5 miles felt good and appropriately hard with the hills on the west side of the reservoir and the stairs/hills in the Ramble. I’m happy with the workout even if it wasn’t the six I was planning.
Leg 1
Leg 2
which can be best summed up as “Wiggle It. Just a little bit”

Plan for this week:

  • Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday again. Exact specs TBD. Oops. Well not total oops, I know the length & intensity, just not whether Tuesday/Thursday are gym or Mile High.
  • Hit an awesome milestone. Details TK!

 

Mile High Wind Chill

I’m still trying to work out the balance between routine and rest. I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a thing forever, and I’m OK with that. As I briefly mentioned the other day, hills and weekend long runs are a challenge at the moment, although not an impossible one. The more pressing one to me at the moment is having the oomph to do 4.5 miles after an already long day at work. It’s not a running endurance issue, so much as an I’m tired one.  So while I’d like to power through, I’m also open to other ideas. Solutions this weekend and last? Runs on Saturday and Sunday.

Before I get into the details on those workouts, just wanted to share this, which happened this weekend

passed 1900 #RunTheYear miles

WOW! 382+ miles of that are running, but even without that, wow.

Height of winter running fashion

Saturday dawned bright and brisk, though thankfully not as brisk as Friday evening’s 18F windchill. I would still have much preferred to stay in bed but yay for the accountability of meeting a friend. I’d tried to lay out my clothes the night before as I knew I wouldn’t want to get out of bed before I needed to. Those tights, like the others I own, are designed for tall people, but hey built in socks. Ended up free lancing as the wind breaker didn’t quite work so final tally was:

  • Champion 6.2 tights (I’d absolutely buy another pair if they still had the awesome pink spiderwebs)
  • TekGear long-sleeved shirt with thumbholes. Yep, pretty much free gloves there with the size.
  • an RBX long sleeve shirt
  • topped off with a Cuddl Dudds fleece top. (I maintain if it doesn’t look like long underwear it’s absolutely acceptable to wear on the outside)
  • Non-performance gloves, ear band, socks because sometimes normal cold weather gear is just fine. Had the wind been worse I might have put on the wind pants that I wore when I was a Frozen Penguin. Base layer that day was CuddlDudds on the bottom, I think
We weren’t the only crazy runners on this cold day

I got to the top of Cat Hill just a few minutes late. And by got, I mean ran because of course I was running late. I don’t track those as the lights mess it up, but it’s nice to know I can pseudo run commute when needed. We tend to do laps of the 1.66 mile bridle path loop with a start at Engineers Gate and an end where/when we feel it was right. Luckily as we kept moving and zigged-zagged into the sun we found the weather wasn’t as bad (I swear the hot air from incessantly discussing it warms it up) and we were both feeling good.

A great, if cold run

We called it at six miles and I was pleasantly surprised that it was roughly consistent with last week despite starting off more slowly.

Splits!

 

No idea where mile four came from.  When the watch indicated it we looked at one another befuddled. I love the setting that buzzes on miles. Way more useful. The ascent is absolute nonsense. There is an incline, but nothing that significant. Most surprising? Despite the weather this felt “easy”. Maybe there’s something to running a distance consistently? It happened in June with the 5K distance, but part of me still felt like that was a fluke. But it’s happening again. Weird, but I’ll take it.

Despite the cold, we did a walking cool down lap-ish while I gave this one a go.

Verdict? No. Stomach, fine. But it tasted like chemicals. It also wasn’t worth the extra dollar that Rocktane commands. After a Starbucks run we hit the Upper West Side JackRabbit and I got the energy gum. They have a much larger cross section of gels than the East Side does, but I was too cold/tired to shop. So cold/tired that rather than walking to 86th or even 79th, I hopped on the 1. Yes, I have an unlimited metrocard. I realized when I got upstairs I’d be just shy of 30K steps on the day, but I didn’t want it badly enough to go back out. Long, hot shower and couch called my name. It was good for a re-charge.

So what was the second part of my weekend slate? Finally trying Mile High Run Club, which I first learned of the night before the Women’s 10K. I immediately filed it away as not for me, as like the HuffPo writer, I was intimidated. I also thought it was for runners at a way higher level than I was. Still, I was intrigued. A friend mentioned it over lunch over the summer and I waved her off as still out of my reach. Like a good friend, she didn’t push. As I continued to train, it re-entered my brain. Reading run blogs was part of that as CuckooLemon is a fan, Peanut Butter wasn’t and others are mixed.

Feeling more confident in my runs of late and reading this post, which really sold me on why it was worth trying, I pinged my friend and asked which class she recommended and would she go with me. She was happy to and recommended the High45, with a series of instructors who offered it/she preferred. The class is described as:

HIGH 45 is the bridge between our DASH 28 and DISTANCE class. Expect to cover between 3 and 5+ miles in this treadmill only interval-based 45-minute endurance class.

We landed on NoMAD as that’s her home base and Sunday morning, because both of our schedules suck. Despite some registration challenges due to their new system, it was smooth to sign up for the $18 trial and check/in arrival was nice. The locker room was super clean and well-stocked (may be a first thing in the morning thing) and post-class it was easy to get a shower. I like that the lockers have the built-in locks so you can haul one less thing.

I was nervous but found Rich V. welcoming without hovering too much. He set me up with the basics I needed, such as how to adjust speed and that 1.0 was “flat” in MHRC parlance. As others have mentioned, it’s a go your own with some suggested levels for joggers v. racers. That was particularly helpful to me as I still haven’t figured out my target paces, although I’m getting there.

I like how the class ran, both the mix of the instructor talking and not as well as how he outlined what was to come. It was very helpful to mentally plan for the intervals. I was nervous when he first mentioned an 8.0 incline but I figured I do what I could. 50by25 has a really good breakdown of the different intervals if you’re curious.

Absent some noodling around to identify what my personal levels 1/2/3 (and sub levels)/4 were, I didn’t have to downgrade my speed at all and kept up with the time intervals for both incline and speed.  Key I think was slowing it more than I normally do on my intervals and being a little conservative when it came to my level 3 speeds. I took it above 6.0 twice and finished the all out sprint at a 9:30 pace (6.3) which I think is my best ever. And I could have gone faster, I think. Definitely room to grow and I finished feeling strong. That made me happy.

Mile High Running Club workout details

If I wanted proof of progress on the year. Even conservative-ish, that’s nearly a mile more in 40 seconds fewer than my penguin day. Wow

Other thoughts:

Pros:

  • The change from hills to speed intervals made the 45 minutes go lightning quick. When I looked at the treadmill display at one moment, I couldn’t believe 20 minutes had passed. Way more fun than grinding out 4.5 miles after work, but I wonder if that was also a factor of being fresher.
  • The darkly lit room made it easy to ignore the watch and what others were doing. Also let me fade into obscurity, which is my preference in classes.
  • Being in the middle row was perfect – enough space to look around without getting distracted by everyone else’s machines. Not too close to the mirror. Beyond the basics (nothing hurt), I didn’t worry too much about form as that’s too much multi-tasking for me.
  • Soundtrack was awesome, mix of genres and time periods.
  • Well stocked and since instructor is just coaching and not running, he was able to do little things like help on the fly, retrieve a dropped towel.

Cons:

  • Not really convenient, and it’s expensive. But there’s Classpass, monthly passes (if I really get into it) and it isn’t that inconvenient.

I want to do one again. I don’t think I’m yet at the level of The Distance, but I think High45 is perfect as I don’t have much interest in the kettle bell part, which seems to get mixed to poor reviews. I’ll see how it works schedule wise.

No gel report, I forgot to bring it into the studio (and forgot my water at home) and then we decided to go for brunch. Scrambled eggs & avocado on toast > any gel.

Instead of rowing tomorrow, taking day off off to rest after ten miles in two days. Hoping it’s warm enough to walk home.

More to come.

Saturday Six

Gorgeous fall Saturday morning

I was out of the city this weekend for mom’s birthday and was looking forward to a long run. I knew I didn’t want to do endless laps on the course near mom and so when the morning dawned absolutely gorgeous I negotiated the car and headed for Rockland Lake State Park, a place I’ve always enjoyed.

Saturday morning laps

The GPS was a little drunk as I promise I was neither walking on water nor water skiing at the north end, but it really is a gorgeous place to spend a fall day. I wasn’t sure exactly how long the Lake lap was, but knew it was around three miles and would be a good course. Turns out it was almost exactly three miles according to my watch when I closed the first lap.

My hip was aching a little, but it wasn’t pain and I was otherwise feeling good so I kept on. I had water with me, but wasn’t thirsty and didn’t feel ready for my Gu. I carried it with me last weekend but never ended up eating it as I wasn’t sure how it would feel with my stomach and the idea of trying to fiddle with it in the rain wasn’t appealing. So I went for lap two. For the first time in possibly forever, the first three miles felt like the warmup that people always say it is.

the only kind of splits I do

Those are some ridiculously consistent splits. I know why six was quick, but not sure why three was almost identical. Weird quirk or watch issue? I was wearing long sleeves and only looked at the watch when it buzzed on the mile, which really works for me. I like the data, but running and reading don’t go well together for me.

As the second lap continued I contemplated water, Gu and stretching and knew I was good to keep going until the end. I had a thought of a PR, but what I really had a thought of was my first ever six mile run without a walk or stretch break. It helped that the course is absolutely pancake flat, but what also helped was no recurrence of last Tuesday‘s breathing issues despite it being cool again. Being near water probably helped, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed it was a one off. So what did a no break 10K add up to?

September 24 v. November 4

BAM! BAM!

A hulk smash PR of ten minutes after September 24 marked a six minute PR. Hello training and a consistent base. Of course, the weather is also a factor, but it’s not a ten minute factor. The weather was probably comparable to March and well, that would mean a 22m PR due to training/improvement without the weather factor. I’m floored. 24 hour runners’ high.

5-6 mile paces over time

Despite a PR, not my fastest pace at distance because of how Runkeeper tracks them, but I don’t care. I’ve said before that in addition to preferring 4-6 miles over 5K, I really prefer five miles to six. That last 1.2 just feels like forever. The fact that I was quicker in mile six than five and consistent with last week’s five mile makes me happy.

My hip almost didn’t hurt after the second lap, but I gave it a good stretch before driving back (this whole driving to a workout thing-so weird!) and it has been fine. As I walked back to the start from where the last .23 ended I tore into the Gu to give it a try. Stomach wise, it was absolutely fine. Taste? A little too rich even with water. As much as I like that flavor in general, I think I’ll pass on it going forward. I still have ginger and vanilla orange to try.

On to next week.

 

Other thoughts:

  • Nice two+ miles today because I couldn’t let marathon Sunday go with no activity and I wanted a shot at my Fitbit goal. Humid, no breathing issues. Weird time, but wasn’t running for time and stopped as I ran into people I knew. I’ll take tomorrow off running so as not to push it, but felt good to be able to do two days in a row.
  • I look forward to running Rockland Lake again for the Turkey Trot. Looking forward to running on my birthday and waking at oh’dark’thirty to do so. Who AM I?
  • I mentioned this when Mary Keitany won the Mini 10K in which I ran in June, but there’s something about the elites running on the very same course. That hit home as I was watching the women leaders in this morning’s marathon. As Shalane Flanagan took her commanding lead this morning it was just weird to see her running on a course I run at least weekly. So awesome and amazing. We’ve been lucky to see she and Meb in the last decade. Looking forward to catching up on the blogs of some folks I knew who ran.
  • Besides being ugly, the Poland Spring 5M shirt doesn’t even fit. It’s relegated to mom’s as a backup if I want to run and forget clothes.

Turtles Love the Rain #PolandSpringKickOff

Marathon welcome signage on Central Park West
Marathon Pavilion

well love might be the wrong word. I didn’t sleep a lick last night worrying about whether I was prepared if the race went on, and whether the race would. With no text message when I woke, I checked FB to see all systems go and I… hit snooze. With the rain I knew I was going to Via to the start anyway, so I wasn’t in a huge rush. I also wasn’t in a rush to stand in the damp for the suggested 30-45m, so I was willing to wing it.

I was glad I had a second look at the race info last night because the course was slightly different to the prior 5 mile NYRR run I’d done. As a result, those of us toward the back crossed the finish before we crossed the start. I was amazed how quickly they put up the finish line once we were all off. While waiting for the opening ceremonies to wrap, I enjoyed the fussier than normal festivities due to marathon prep. The pavilion is deceptively large and was a nice place to dry off after our miles were done. Luckily the rain held off while we were waiting.

Back of the pack masses

For a while it felt as if we’d never get to run, but we actually crossed the start faster than in the NYRR races earlier this summer. I was watching my footing due to the wet leaves, but it was also because I couldn’t obsess over the watch. With the rain on tap I decided not to wear my glasses and that was the perfect decision. No fog, no wet lenses, no glasses sliding all over. I admit, it’s a tempting decision going forward. Only possible issue was post-race coffee, but I really don’t need the menu to order at Starbucks.

Runkeeper splits

My pace felt good and steady throughout. I felt that I got into a rhythm fairly quickly, which made sense once I saw my splits. Mile 2? Combo of Cat Hill and taking my windbreaker off as I warmed up, plus some water station congestion as I stayed with the pack! Mile 4 is the rolling hills on the west side of the reservoir. I’m impressed with that consistency int he wild and amazed that my last mile was the fastest, but it makes sense because I was feeling strong. I have no idea what that final .1 was. Probably fidding with the watch, so I’m not worrying. Really the only moment of concern was on the last water station –  I carried a bottle but never opened it until post race – when I aimed for my mouth and got my nose instead. Whoops. I really need to learn to run or at least walk and drink.

I felt as if I was darting around people a lot, but just like June I ran close to the prescribed distance (5.14 to June’s 5.13 miles). I seem to be better at that than I am when running 10K. At the second water station I was happy to see Thomas Panek and Gus who I’d read about earlier this week. I also saw them after the race and it looked like they had a good run. They were certainly having fun by Engineers’ Gate.

 

NYRR Place details

I’m still sticking with my watch over NYRR since it’s how I’ve measured all my time, but like June, they’re off.  5.14 in 57:32 for 11:12 average pace vs. 5.0 in 57:43 for 11:33. I’d also say the watch is more accurate since it is what I ran, not what the course was measured at. Some thoughts:

  • Top 79% gender. That’s pretty cool. About same (top 80) as age group.
  • Top 85% overall
  • I really love NYRR’s data. Even if I don’t know how to interpret all of it.

What I also am amazed by and appreciate is the progress I can see at a glance from NYRR and Strava.

5 Miles throughout my running history

This doesn’t include the Retro, for some reason, but it was nice to see progress over time. Strava also gave me a whole bunch of personal rankings, which really just told me that people name a lot of segments throughout the park.

Strava PRs

 

Last week was a good test but that time included some pause and stretch breaks as my hip was still not 100%. I thought it was a good indicator of what was possible and it’s where I pulled my goal time from. I really wanted to break one hour, and I was fairly sure it was doable.

NYRR runs database

It is equal parts insane and awesome to realize that I finished five miles only slightly slower than I previously finished four. Much like my feeling at finishing that four, it was lovely to realize I was up and done for the day before I’m normally up on a Sunday. All said and done, it’s about an 8 minute PR over June and I definitely hit my goal of finishing strong and smiling.

Smile and say silly

Yep! Can’t lose me in a rain storm. This love of pink is new, and while I was sad not to be able to wear Boo (although I am as I write this), I’m happy with my outfit. The windbreaker was great for post race walking around and wasn’t too warm to run the first mile in. I didn’t bother trying to tie it and just carried it as I ran. I forgot my dry socks but covering my feet in knock off glide worked a charm as no blisters despite feeling a hot spot.

I met up with a friend who I met fifteen years who and we spent some time in the Pavilion before heading to the Run Center to pick up his stuff for next weekend’s 5K and then Starbucks. It was so wonderful not to feel completely trashed after this race. Had the monsoon not picked up, I probably would have even walked home. As a result, my steps on the day are low, but I’ll take it.

Current running mileage on the year for Joyful Heart: 349.39! (Doh!)

On to the next.

Post-race goodies from the NYC Marathon Pavilion