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! :)

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!