Monday, January 16, 2017

It Has Happened: I Enjoy Winter Running

Put this at the top of a list of things I never thought I would say. 

In the past, I have had no problem heading to the treadmill at the sign of inclement or undesirable weather. 

However, this past June, my gym with no notice closed it's doors. At the time summer was coming and I was keen to just run outside. I also have some weights (like the Les Mill's body pump set) at home so just went with it. Towards the middle of summer I discovered a bootcamp gym close to home and tried that out. I then spent the month of August in Europe and returned and paid up front for a year at the bootcamp gym and told myself that was it, no other gym membership or classes. 

Well fast forward to late fall and it starting to get cooler and I wondered if I would be able to last in the cold. 

And you know what, I totally have. And, as I commented yesterday that the long run in 27 degrees was quite warm, I realized that I have turned a corner and not only embraced, but come to thoroughly enjoy, winter running. 

I consciously choose to wait for the snow to start last weekend to run! And loved it. 




Obviously as I have learned, the right clothing make all the difference in if you will enjoy it and I will definitely share what have been my favorites that I invested in, and was gifted for Christmas that have made winter running so enjoyable. 

We have had a milder winter which is also helpful thus far. On the oft days that are warmer I have come to realize that I am not looking forward to the eventual heat and humidity that will come our way. 

Give me a balmy 40 degree tops run and I am happy! 


I also think that the exclusive running outdoors has helped me to regain my speed. In the past I have loved the treadmill but for me personally I think that in order for me to race well, I need to be outdoors. I was my slowest when running a ton on the treadmill. I never was able to make my indoor speed translate to outdoors. I also went through a lot at that time with my Crohn's so that could be a part of it but I don't think I will ever be able to practice race pace on a treadmill and then be able to sustain it in a race. 


For now though I am going to continue to enjoy my new found love for winter time and hope that I don't have to head back to the treadmill any time soon! 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Trail Running for a Change

Something that has attracted me to each ultra that I have run is the trails. 

There is something about being immersed in the middle of nature that I find solace in. In fact I did not listen to a single bit of music or anything during the 22+ miles I ran during the last race! 

And apparently it isn't just me there is a whole "Forest Bathing"  trend. While it varies from running, I firmly believe the results are the same, calming. Where road running is all about pace and distance, the trails are not.

Lucky enough, about a mile from me I have a great resource that I have 100% not taken enough advantage of, Alley Pond Park. This is 657 acres, with miles of trails in Queens. 

The trails for the most part are easy, single track and pretty runable. There are some inclines and declines which us newer trail runners may take heed and slow down for, but for the most part you can just run. They are also pretty well marked although the good thing about being in the middle of a city, you are never truly far from the roads which means getting lost isn't quite a problem. 

The stairs leading down to Oakland Lake

Oakland Lake
I have never found it to be too crowded. The number one peril I find are the mountain bikers but as winter has come they are far and fewer between. 

You could use regular running shoes, but I have invested in a pair that I am in love with. The Saucony Nomad TR. They are lightweight and super comfortable. For when it is muddier and perhaps a little slippery I like knowing that I do have some more tread on the trail. 





Stairway connection between two different trails.

Action shot!
One of my goals for the next few months is to first, reacquire a license (I haven't driven since 2008!) and then planning on buying a car - that way I am able to expand my horizons more easily and hit more trails! 

Now my only question is: who wants to join me?!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Dumb Ass Trail Mix Up 30/50K

Well, I still haven't written up my last race, The Falling Leaves Half Marathon...but I am more motivated to write about today's race than reverse back to that at the moment so...it's to come (maybe!). 

This trail race was a combo 30K and 50K. Basically it didn't matter what you signed up for, everyone was to be scored for the 30K and if you went on to 50K well then, yay! 

Leading up to it, I planned on 30K as I haven't run more than 13 miles in a couple of months. 18ish miles was doable but probably challenging and 31 I couldn't imagine reaching where my training is at. I just planned to run and give it what I had. 

Weather was cool, and the ultra atmosphere at the start is very low key, an aspect of these races I really enjoy. There were just over a 100 people registered and I was happy that I knew quite a few people. The community of runners is very small!

The course itself was about 60% trail and 40% pavement. I have to say I actually was not enjoying the pavement portions. The trail was mostly very runnable, but did have a few climbs that would stop you. I was surprised to see my pace dip into the 8's quite a bit. The more loops I did the more confident I was in opening up my stride. Of course plenty of sections and rocks and roots to check you but it was nice to get that rush of speed. 


I felt a lot better than I thought I would. I finished the 30K not really tired nor worse for the wear, and a bit sad that it was over. My hip flexors and hamstrings were a little achy but at that point I was 19 miles in and that is kind of par for the course. 

So with some peer pressure I decided to just go for another lap (they were about 5K or so each, ultra world course measuring is very official, or not lol). 

I spent that lap knowing I was probably reaching mileage territory that I shouldn't. Even though my body was feeling about what it should for the race, I knew I wasn't trained for what I was doing and with some sadness decided I would check myself and not continue with the 3 more laps to the 50K. 


Years of running and racing have taught me well. Just because I CAN do something doesn't mean I should. And I am pretty convinced it is why I don't get injured. Minus Crohn's disease related set backs, I have not been injured. Could I have done 9 more miles? 100% not a doubt in my mind but end of the day best to walk off feeling good and happy with my performance and knowing I can go run some miles tomorrow. 

On another note, I threw in a rookie move that could have backfired and wore new shoes and was lucky that they were amazing! The Saucony Nomad TR. If anyone needs a trail shoe try them. Light weight, 4mm drop, and super comfy. PSA over but had to mention it. 

Overall, just a great day and 10/10 would do it again! 

And I can't wait to return to Alley Pond Park and hit the trails again soon. So happy it is only a couple miles from home. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Fort Totten Trot - 5K - 22:39 ***

I decided to race a 5K this weekend a couple weeks out from my half to get an idea of where my speed was at. For me, I do some of my best work in races. I am pretty competitive and will often push myself harder in a race environment than I will during a speed workout. 

I was coming into the race not exactly rested. I did a tough bootcamp the day before and an 8.6 mile long tempo the day before that. Also the course is very hilly it is in the army base at Fort Totten. I ran the 5K the year before – plus it was where my July ultra was. It is a lot of up and down. This year they changed the course and race timers and had it USATF certified (or so they said…).

I was able to get in 3.5 miles to warm up prior – the race was in my town so I planned to sandwich it into my long run. My legs didn’t feel great on the run so knew it was going to be a hard day. 

It is on the small side, and would only be timed by gun time so I lined up near the front. My goal was 100% to PR – which meant going under 25 mins. 

The race took off to an immediate down hill. I went entirely too fast down it which you know is the way to go in a 5K, trash the legs immediately! It was followed but a longer up hill and then another downhill until we got to the flat path way to the water front. 

Within a mile, honestly even less, my legs were completely shot. 

My motivation? A young girl, probably 9-10 who was keeping pace. 

There was a cone turn which killed any momentum (I think I audibly groaned as we went around) at about 1.5 miles. I knew that would be the only way to turn but it still sucks. 

Then we went back into the Fort and it was uphill for about .5 miles. 

Totally over the race at this point. I knew I was fading but just tried to keep moving and powering my arms. 

Finally got a bit of reprieve with some flat, a short slightly downhill slope and then a turn and uphill before flat to the finish. 

My goal was to not let a woman who I eyed as about my age pass me. And mission accomplish, by maybe a second. 

I love this pic of us all coming into the finish. The man was coaching his daughter in (and running our pace like it was a walk in the park)! 



I saw the time on the clock and was immediately in shock. Then I also realized I hadn’t heard my watch beep for mile 3. 

The result – all of us showing that the course was just shy of 3 miles. 

Considering my goal was to come in under 25 minutes and I came in at 22:39 – totally bummed. Especially considering they said it was certified. I don’t know who bungled that up but it is really disappointing. 


All things going I would have come in 23:xx which would have been a massive PR. I left it out there. I was completely done at the end.

But, this was the first time a race course has been really under for me. 

I did get a 3rd place AG so that was nice (although I won it last year with a MUCH slower time!). 

Goal now is to find another 5K – that is flat because that was really punishing! 


Who else has dealt with this? I was proud of my time and posted my official results and felt a bit guilty like I needed a disclaimer – but end of the day it’s not my fault about the course but, I am not using this as my PR I don’t feel that is justified.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October Update!

Hello! I just realized it has been almost a month since I have written a post! 

Not that that is totally unusual but made me realize the new job and such has been eating up a LOT of my time and in my down time I am being a total bum. I go days without checking up and reading others blogs either. Just no time for that! 

So what has been going on?

First work. Holy cow. This is the toughest job I have had. Moved up position wise and also am in a totally new area of media then throw in the learning curve of a massive company and I am fried - but loving it! I can't believe I am just about 2 months in! Also, they are very in touch with creating a solid work environment. Please see last week - they brought in puppies (adoptable!!) to one of our happy hours (also very big on these!). 



Health wise, fingers crossed but I was at my hematologist last week and looks like my blood levels are already improving. I still feel exhausted but I think mentally I need to stop thinking it is medical and realize work, plus training, plus seasons changing (aka all the darkness) are having an effect. 

On the running front, dropping down from the marathon was 150% the BEST decision. It is freeing to not have to plan every weekend around those LONG LONG runs. I am still running long - 12ish miles for the long run on the weekend - but not having to fuel and being able to keep it under 2 hours has been good for me. I have moments of FOMO but then am like do I want to go run 18 miles...nope. The feeling dissipates. 

I'm excited to get out there and race. I do think that I am capable of running a solid race and if the cards line up coming close to a PR (1:53). But I am not in a it must happen or all hope is lost mode. I'm doing the work, varying the runs, paces and taking a full day of recovery and time will tell. 

I did toy the past 3 weeks with dropping my running days from 5 to 4. I still hit 30 miles by making one run an 8-9 miler during the week in which I do speed work in the middle. I like the higher midweek miles and also hitting paces in the midst of longer runs but to be honest kind of like running 5. And, my legs do not feel ANY more refreshed dropping a day. So this week may add back in one. What can I say, I love my running high and bootcamp just feels better with a few miles of recovery after. 

I am also loving fall temps. Ugh. It has been amazing. Cooler weather + running = heaven. Plus being able to be lazy on the weekend mornings and NOT set an alarm to zero dark thirty like in summer or risk dying in heat and humidity = fabulous! 


I even ran in the rain, wind and cold on Saturday morning and enjoyed it! Or well I enjoyed the satisfying brunch that came after ;)


And that is about all for now! I am signed up for a 5K this weekend and excited to see what kind of turnover I have. Should be a good little speed prep to see where I am at. I always do way better if a race is on the line and would love to avg below an 8:00 pace for this race but we shall see! 

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! :)