Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Changing Plans

Why hello there! Happy fall :) 

The past 3 weeks have basically just flown by. 

I began a new job, which is both awesome, and pretty challenging. 

I am working in social media which is a totally new space for me going from live TV production and have been thrown in and trying to navigate. It doesn't help that their fiscal year end is the end of this week. Trial by fire for sure! 

But forget work let's talk running!

Earlier this year I decided to throw a marathon back into the mix and registered for Philly. I hadn't run one since being diagnosed with Crohn's, and when it came down to it, had never run or trained for a marathon while healthy. I wanted to see what my body could actually do at 100%.

Then I decided to run an Ultra in July which meant ramping up a training cycle for that. 

Basically by this time this year I have been in serious training for several months. 

I returned from Europe refreshed but tired. Then I found a job within a week and had one week of down time. In that down time I was just tired. I couldn't figure it out. I thought maybe my body was just craving the M - F routine and when work began I would feel normal. 

But I didn't. And then I got my blood work back. Turns out that even though I am not flaring, my iron levels have plummeted again (ferritin 3 and hemoglobin 8). Kind of explains everything. Hello my old friend anemia.

And I began thinking of how I was a) over training for a marathon and b) didn't feel like running myself ragged TRYING to train for another marathon. So I took a weekend off from a crazy long run. And then had the opportunity to go to Seattle the following weekend and only ran 8 miles for my long run. 

I started toying with just saying no to running Philly and have until the 30th to switch to the half if I am inclined. 

And moral of the story if you have made it this far is that I think I am. 

At this point in my running life I have run several marathons. I wanted to run one totally healthy. My iron infusions probably won't get me back to normal for 6-8 weeks and with my work schedule can't go for another until late October. I have absolutely nothing to prove to myself in running a marathon (I mean I did just do it in July). And the exhaustion from my normal training routine and a high pressure job (that I love and want to excel and focus on) is way more important.

I am 99% positive that come Friday I will be dropping down. 

Which is to say that I still plan on running a few half marathons this fall. I LOVE the half distance. Going out for a 10 mile run is 100% doable. I don't need to fuel or worry about any of that and it doesn't wipe me out like the 20 milers will. 

In the end my health and sanity are more important and training and a possible mediocre marathon are just not what I want. 

I think my body is just saying I was over ambitious and if I do run one (with a goal time like I want), I need to not have a crazy long aka 6 month training cycle. 

So that is where I am not. I spent a couple weeks trying to figure out if I was taking an easy way out and in a way, yes I am. I am choosing to not be even more exhausted than I am on a normal basis. Cutting down about 10-15 miles a week is a big help! 

So there you have it. Fall marathon is out. And I am okay with that. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Summer is Winding Down

I cannot believe that it is September. I really feel like this year has flown by and summer was gone in a blink (but not those summer temps, they are still holding strong). 

But the good news is, I have a job! I kind of lucked out in that I had an interview set up for a job I really wanted, interviewed and two days later got the offer. 

I begin on Monday which was also nice. I was able to work out a full week and then some before starting so that I could enjoy some time stress free. There is not working with a new job ahead and then not working with the stress of job hunting looming. 

I was lucky in that I had the financial capabilities to not work for a while but really wanted to. I landed a gig that is going to be both challenging and is a fantastic step up professionally. Pretty much a win, win. I am also working freelance so as of now only signed on for 3 months (also something I wanted). 

So that is what is up on the job front. 

Running has been going pretty well. Both of my long runs back from Europe have gone really well. Last week there was a break in humidity and I had a fantastic 16 miler. 

At the same time, I am having some anxiety and trepidation about running a marathon. I don't have any crazy goals (looking to PR which is breaking 4:26) but at this point I am still feeling unprepared and like it is a daunting task. 

Good thing I have more than 2 months of training left! (but really...still that long?!).

So that is basically what is going on right now. 

I'm ready to get back into routine. I dawdle with getting out the door in the mornings, since I usually don't have much of an agenda and crave the structure that work gives. 

I also have been doing entirely too much shopping. My lululemon obsession has gone berserk. There was a reason I had never bought anything prior to a few months ago. I KNEW this would happen. But if anyone wants a recommendation buy these shorts immediately.  And this sports bra.  And this tank.  Ugh. So much love. And, all on sale. 

You're welcome! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back in NYC!

As sad as it is for an amazing trip to end, I am pretty happy to be in one place and back at home! 

This summer has been a roller coaster. 

Mid July my job finally ended (for those who don't know my company closed so after 3.5 years my job that changed me career wise was over).

Then I was hired to freelance at both the RNC and DNC so spent two weeks on the road. 

Then I jetted off to Europe for three weeks! I spent the bulk of my time in Croatia then went on to Italy and Spain on my own. I will plan to recap but in a nutshell...trip of a life time. 

Until then just a little preview.

Basically how we spent our days. Sailing to an island, dropping anchor, and jumping in the Adriatic.

Our boat crew on the Split Kiss!

Italy! I was just captivated the entire time.

Sangria in Barcelona. Enough said. 
So now, I am back. 

Jobless, but not stressing as I have some things in the works. I am lucky enough to be okay for a long while and am toying with continuing the freelance route or going full time. We shall see where the cards fall in due time.

And, back to the grind with marathon training. I was SO active on vacation (averaged 12-15 miles running/walking every day) but never ran more than 9 or so sooooo my first long run back should be super fun! 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

BUS Pajama Romp 6 Hour Race

Well a week later seems like a perfect time to do a recap! 

I haven't had a moment to read a blog in the past couple of weeks let alone right my own blog post. I finished my job at Al Jazeera America on 7/15 and then 7/18 headed off to the RNC (I was hired as a freelance production manager) then come home run the race then head off to DNC. So whirlwind is the only description I have for the past few weeks. 

I signed up for this race for more or less one reason: it was in my town. There is not much opportunity for me to have a race so convenient so before I could really think about it, I had registered. 

Then the reality sunk in. I just signed up for a 6 hour race at the end of July. I don't run well in the heat. 

The week before they started sending out the emails - due to it being the hottest predicted day of the year there would be no "place" finishes. They strongly discouraged anyone taking it seriously. They weren't going to call it a fun run but they threatened to strip people of bibs that didn't take the heat and humidity seriously. If you looked like you should be stopped and weren't they were taking away liability. So yay!

Add to this I was running around RNC all week prior and was lucky to have 5 hours of sleep a night - I was SO looking forward to it. 

And hot it was. I had an upset stomach all morning and was concerned for that but honestly I wasn't racing this. I planned to walk when needed and my goal was to finish 26.2. Considering I usually do that in under 4:30 I thought it was a safe bet. 

My sister came to run and we arrived at the race ready to go. One of us taking selfies the other listening for instructions ;) 

The whole race was very laid back. They literally gathered the group (I don't know how many people maybe 150?) gave some instructions then herded us towards the start line. 

My sister is a faster runner than myself but we ran the first few loops together. 

The course was a 1.3 mile loop that you ran until either you were finished running or 6 hours ended. My goal was to just move for 6 hours.

I know some people may find the concept batty but I love loops and especially in the weather was nice to have the aide station every 1.3 miles. No holding water bottles or fuel. I would grab a drink or slice of watermelon etc each lap. 

Eventually though I started to feel over fueled. I stopped sweating a lot and within 2 hours knew I had to slow down. 

The course was also extremely hilly. Up and down. There were barely any straights so lets just say it wasn't easy on the legs. The downfall of the loops was the unevenness which took a toll on the left side of my body. My hamstring and hip were cranky within 3 hours. 

But we got some lovely views (Throgs Neck)

I didn't listen to music once the entire 6 hours. I made friends and everyone just encouraged one another walked and ran laps with new people. 

By 4 hours in I felt really really crappy. There was a lot of walking. I stopped and sat in my chair for a while. Changed shoes and socks. Then my sister found me again and we continued on for a while together. 

The course got so dark. There wasn't much light and it was eerily quiet. Plus, there weren't many people - a lot had dropped off already so very much alone at some points.

Then my sister started to feel like crap. She thought she was going to be sick and I had to go run back to the start then run the loop around to bring here cooling towels and a bottle of water, so I had to hustle my butt off. (tmi coming) she threw up and then felt like a million bucks which was amusing. 

At this point we were at about the 5:30 mark and I looked at my mileage and was determined to at least finish 26.2. So we began running. I felt really good. And was really damn determined. We got to the start area and my team's coach was there (I joined a running team Quicksilver Striders!) and we now were down to 12 minutes until 6 hours - I knew I had to at least get another lap in so I took off. I don't know where it came from but I ran the fastest I had all day. 

See splits here: 10:01, 11:05, 12:36, 10:05, 12:09, 10:54, 12:17, 13:04, 10:29, 12:51, 12:30, 14:37, 10:44, 12:55, 15:06, 14:15, 12:17, 15:25, 18:45, 17:59, 21:03, 23:21, 12:03, 19:13, 11:03, 8:37, 8:47 (!!!) 

And then it was done. 

This may have been the slowest "marathon" I ran but holy hell. Hard. The course was hard, the conditions were awful and I am so happy I did it! 

We quickly forgot how hard and brutal it was and enjoyed a slice of pizza and a beer.

I definitely recommend looking into BUS (Broadway Ultra Society) events. The people were great and it was very well organized. Plus the "ultra" environment is so different than the typical race one. Overall I was happy to make it out in one piece!  

I then enjoyed the most glorious Sunday where I challenged my fitbit to have the least amount of steps that I ever have. 

Due to all the walking I did - recovery was definitely pretty easy but I didn't really run run until Friday. I did a lot of walking at DNC and Tuesday ran a couple miles but it wasn't until Friday that I ran 7 and felt pretty normal. 

Now I have a couple days before I head off to Europe for 3, yes 3 weeks!!!! I still have Philly Marathon which is the ultimate goal and will have to figure out running while away but honestly it is not going to be the focus. Exploring Croatia, Italy and Spain are and am sure I will find the opportunity to run...minus when I am sailing for a week ;) 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Let the Marathoning Begin!

This fall it will be 2 years since my last marathon and after thinking I really had no intention of returning to the distance this year, apparently I will be.. and sooner than later! 

I took the plunge and registered for the Philadelphia Marathon.  After tossing around between that, Indianapolis Monumental and Richmond; I decided that proximity and the late nature of the marathon (read: cold temps pretty much guaranteed) won me over. 

Yup, it is real! 

And because I am a sadistic idiot, I signed up for an ultra marathon in July. 

I am going to use the term ultra very loosely here. I have absolutely no goals. 

Okay, that is a lie. My goal will be to run at least a marathon over those 6 hours, anything over that will be a bonus. 

I couldn't help myself. The race is pretty cool. It is from 5pm - 11pm and over that 6 hours you run as many 1.3 mile loops as you can/want. Bonus it is about a mile from where I live so I felt obliged. I looked at past results and people do anything from 15 - 40+ (lol no just no). 

I have a very solid base already as I have kept up long runs even when not in training. I am ramping up for the race since it is in oh about 5 weeks. I did a very solid and awesome 15 miles this past weekend after 13.5 the one prior. Given it isn't like a true marathon - I assume plenty of stopping, walk etc. I think I will be fine. 

Philly training will continue on after that. I will most likely take a couple down weeks depending on how I feel and reduce the mileage before gearing back up. 

It is all a loose plan really at the moment - and quite frankly I am most likely going to continue this laid back training approach through this cycle. 

I have no lofty goals for the fall marathon. I have never run one being healthy before (read: always dealing with Crohn's even when I didn't know it). So I am hoping the health I have right now continues on to then. 

My PR is 4:26 and I think I am capable of much better, definitely in the low 4's. I have set a goal half marathon for about a month prior to that in a hopeful PR attempt as well. 

I know I have gotten faster and usually after a summer training season more speed develops so excited to see what happens! 

Now here is hoping that I continue to enjoy the long runs as much as I did my 15 miler this weekend (it was amazeballs). 

Have I mentioned just how enjoyable long runs are when you do not pay attention to pace? I embrace going slower than slow and goodness it is so much better. 

PSA: do not be afraid to go slow! I ran this at a 10:45 pace and the next day did a progression run where my last mile was 7:30. 

And that's all for now! 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Running Recovery Weeks

Hello there! 

This post is brought to you from the glory of being in the office on a Saturday. 

As most know my company is closing down and I am the Project Coordinator for the decommission which means fun things like closing down facilities and being a master of logistics! 

I should note that I put this work day on myself since I managed this process. I planned on taking Friday off to not totally lose the full weekend but work had other plans and I couldn't. 

Anyways back to the post.

So my spring race season has come to a close and I must say it was pretty successful!

I ran 3, count them 3 half marathons! My spring goal was to get sub 2 and see where I was at for setting a PR this year and happy to say, mission accomplished at the first one! 

Overall I ran: 1:58:13, 2:04:13 and 2:00:32 which I am happy with. 

I also mixed in a 10K the week after my sub 2 half and to my surprise, I PR'd

Then I was also signed up for an NYRR 4 miler. My sole purpose was that my NYRR pace was 10+ per mile which is clearly not my race pace. It is based off my 4:59 NYCM I ran in 2014 with my Crohn's flare + stress fracture. Needless to say, not a reflection of my current state! 

To my surprise I PR'd that as well! 

This all leads me to the past couple of weeks. 

After some serious racing and training, I was done. I had neglected cross training and weight training for a while during the race season and needed to back off the running and reset. 

I have had a glorious couple weeks of backing down the mileage.  I think I ran 10 miles last week and this week am over that but still below my 30+ I usually hit. 

Not only does it feel good to tone down the running but it has given me the opportunity to dig in to a lot of other workouts. 

I recently bought the weights for Les Mills Body Pump and have invested in their on demand all I can say is I am loving it so far! And that my body is sore in all new ways. 

I will post more on that soon but I am enjoying home workouts more than I thought I would. 

While I may run some shorter races over the summer months I am not focusing on another race until the fall. I have yet to determine what will be my goal half but safe to say I will be giving my PR (1:53:14) a run in a few months time! 

For now, it is all about focusing on building strength, especially core which I am being more diligent about and just sustaining my base of running fitness. I will probably still run a few times a week and keep a longer run on the weekend since that is the norm for me but I don't plan on a structured schedule (although to be honest when I trained for spring season it was a very "loose" schedule but it worked - see PR's and hitting goals ;) 

It really is good though to step back from running a lot (I haven't had a significant down week in over a year!) and focus on some other forms of workout. This will all make me a stronger runner down the line!

Now off to hopefully finish up overseeing this move out and enjoying SOME of Saturday! 

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Queens Half Marathon Recap

Another week, another race! 

Sunday I ran my 3rd and final half marathon of the spring season, the Queens Half Marathon. It was hard to turn this one down since there are not often half marathons close to me, but man am I looking forward to not running another for a while! 

This was again put on by NYCRuns, who I clearly prefer to race with. 

I woke up Sunday morning definitely not feeling well. Saturday my stomach had been feeling upset and unfortunately by Sunday was not much better. I was a little happier though knowing there were restrooms on the course. 

Because of that I barely choked down water and some dry cheerios on my way there before my stomach was all sorts of grumbly again. I spent some significant time in the porto potties, crossed my fingers and headed to the start a few minutes before it was time. 

It was an absolutely beautiful day but I have been in this running thing long enough to know that starting a half marathon underfueled and dehydrated isn’t exactly ideal. 

Blue skies for days!

I had no goals for this race. My spring goal was to get back to sub 2 shape since I hadn't broken 2 hours since fall of 2012 (which happened at Frozen Penguin). 

I was coming off a normal training load having run 20 miles for the week already with 1 rest day on Saturday. I knew to not expect anything stellar but just go with it.  

The race begins and per usual I do not look at my watch until the first or second mile. I missed mile 1 but at mile 2 saw I was running under 9 min mile pace so start to think about going for another sub 2 effort. Problem was I felt every bit of effort. I knew from the start this wasn’t going to be an “easy” day where the miles click. I was working for it too early on, but kept it up, that is racing right? 

As we were coming up to the half way (it was a 2 loop course) I knew I had to ease up. My legs were shot already; not really pleasant when you have only finished half the race! I knew I had time in the bank to take it easy for a few. I started taking in water at the half way and walked through the stops each time. My fingers were so swollen I knew I had to hydrate. 

I was using the course signage, not when my watch was beeping for the mile markers. I had estimated with 5 miles to go that even if I just kept a 9:30 pace I would be sub 2. 

With 2 miles to go, I was ready to be done so picked it back up. 

I still thought I was on track. 

Then I hit the mile 13 marker, my watch beeps at the same time for mile 13. My time is 1:58 and change I am like .1 to go I am golden. Then  I look in the distance, the finish looks REALLY far away. 

Well, it was. From that mile 13 marker to the finish was .27 miles. 

Which put me in the finish at 2:00:32. 

Which is a very good time considering I'm not rested, I’ve raced most weekends and my stomach was very much bleh the whole time (but didn't have to stop! it's amazing this whole Crohn's being in remission thing, IBS sucks, but is a whole different and easier level of stomach issues to deal with).

However, I know I could have come in under 2. I am not saying the course is “long” but I’ve run enough to know not to go by garmin but by mile markers. Tangents are hard to run 100% correct. So I did. I did my calculations at the mile markers so thought for the entire race I was golden. To have the 13 mile marker a quarter mile from the finish, not cool. Also means the others mile marks on the course were off a bit. 

In the end, what does this mean? Absolutely nothing. I wasn’t racing for time, it wasn’t a PR race. But, I had decided to not phone in the race and run a sub 2, so I was working out there. And, I had more, as my splits here show:

8:57, 8:51, 8:45, 9:00, 8:45, 8:52, 9:21, 9:24, 9:30, 9:22, 9:27, 8:57, 9:10, 8:11 (.27) 

I was able to quite efficiently drop back the pace for the last couple miles and could have done it sooner, but thought I was okay. 

Sigh. In the end half marathon number who knows what in the books and this made me hungry to work for a PR this fall! 

Now, I sign off on race season having run several as most people are starting! A possible 5 miler by me this weekend but I am pooped!