Monday, October 26, 2015

Totten Trot 5K Recap

It is no secret that I am a distance junkie and way prefer the steady "easier" pacing of a half marathon to short distances.

But I am trying to get faster and as a coach friend has said, 5K's are a great way to gain "sneaky speed" by racing them periodically. 

When one showed itself in my town and I could run to and from it I couldn't say no. Until the forecast called for rain, that put some serious doubts in my mind. But I woke up Sunday morning and it said rain was done, so all was good. It was go time. 

Being the fantastic googler/run nerd that I am I input last weeks half to estimate what a goal time should be. It spit out 26:30, 8:30ish miles for me and I made that my loose goal. 

I ran the 2.5 miles to the race and was able to register with plenty of time to spare. I took off all week from running and then ran a few miles Saturday and happy to say that the cross training paid off (spinner/weights each day) - the lingering pain in my glute/hamstring is mostly gone. 

Bayside Historical Society - the race began in Fort Totten
Then with only a few minutes to go until the begins to drizzle. By the time the race was going off it was really raining. I have been lucky to never have to race in the rain until yesterday! 
Oh hello very casual start line.
So the race begins and my only focus is to find my pace. I was feeling really good and start finding a groove. I was really trying to run by feel so was avoiding looking at my Garmin as much as possible.

The road was also wet and it was windy so I was focusing on not slipping (because leaves and acorns).

Mile 1 was hit in 8:10 (although I didn't hear it beep).

I started gaining on and picking off people. I found a woman who looked around my age in my sights and it became my goal to pick her off. Happy to say around 1.75 in I did. But then I was kind of in no mans land. Everyone else was pretty far in front of me and I was starting to lose steam.

Mile 2 in 8:13

It felt like an eternity to get to the cone where we would make a turn around before the final .75 or so. My lungs were feeling it more than my legs but now I started looking at my pace and see it is starting to slip. (and is it just me or is turning around the cone just a killer to your momentum)

Once we turned I am just giving myself pep talks. The final .25 or so is a very very cruel hill to have at the end of the race. Then, a man passes me and it was just what I needed. I told myself to stay on his heels. He was the motivation I needed.

Mile 3 in 8:33

I am chugging along the best I can but still feel like I am running in quick sand. See the finish line and try to kick it.

.12 (going on Garmin) in 7:52

And DONE!!!

Garmin = 25:51 for 3.12

I knew it being a small race I had done well and probably paced. Unfortunately the computer got wet and preliminary results were messed up. I wasn't on them but looked like I had placed 2nd. Eventually they apologize that it will take longer to get the results and it will be emailed etc.

Then I got this email. First place AG win!!! And apparently I somehow added 8 seconds on my Garmin. Can't wait for my trophy, only my second one.

Overall, I am happy. I beat my goal (this is not a PR though) and I think on a flatter course in better weather I can do even better. My mental game has been on point the past few races as well. Not to sound corny but I think everything I have dealt with health wise the past year has really helped me on this front.

And now, maybe just maybe I have found another small 5K in a couple weeks to test my speed out at again.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Brooklyn Greenway Half Marathon Recap

This morning I decided to travel to Brooklyn yet again for the Brooklyn Greenway Half Marathon. (note this is REALLY long, I don't know why I cannot do short recaps). 

I had originally planned to run the Yonkers Half but between logistical issues and that I have been dealing with some pain in my hamstring/glute since the last half, I decided hills would probably aggravate it and this flat, smaller half was a great option. 

I admit, I awoke this morning to 30 degree temps and was less than thrilled.  I began contemplating blowing $39 dollars on an uber or just not going due to the slight "injury". 

I arrived around 8 (9am start) and was immediately in line for bibs. It was eternal. It took about 30 minutes to get mine and then I immediately went to the eternal bathroom line. (TMI) I was unable to go. Why my body choose today to be difficult I will not know. I was basically fine, not stressed, knowing I would have to make a pit stop at some point most likely. 

Due to how behind they were checking people in, the race was delayed about 15 minutes. 

I knew the high was 50 for the day and I was wearing shorts (Oiselle distance short, I am seriously in love) a t-shirt, arm sleeves and compression socks and if one more person in a sweatshirt told me I was going to freeze I was going to strangle them. Spoiler alert all those people were whipping them off soon enough. I win. Today was running weather perfection! 

Without much fanfare (literally did not hear any start) we were off. My body was slightly numb when we started running but warmed up after a mile or so.  There was no coral system they told us to place ourselves (and you all know how that goes walkers go up front) so it took a while to find a rhythm. 

The first few miles clicked off quickly enough: 9:21, 9:18, 9:13 

This felt like a pretty decent pace. Then my stomach began to ache a little and I knew a bathroom stop was imminent so slowed a little. We finally passed one but there was a line several people deep. I was willing to stop but not wait several minutes. 

I don't know why but any half marathon after a few miles I start to question all my running choices until I hit the half way. These are always my least favorite and I was trying to back off effort wise so my stomach didn't blow up: 9:29, 9:27, 9:43 

Then we came up on a bathroom right around 6.5 - I THOUGHT the turnaround was at 7 so decided to just wait until the way back but unfortunately the turnaround was until almost mile 8. But, once I turned and had an idea of where the bathroom was and decided to pick up the pace which felt REALLY good. I was surprised. My leg/glute was definitely feeling some strain but it wasn't effecting my stride. I was ready to really negative split the run: 9:25, 9:29, 10:19 (picked up but bathroom stop - estimate probably a minute or so in there).

I had been keeping pace with a few pretty similar paced runners from mile 3 on and they had similarly dropped the pace after the turnaround as well so my mission was to catch back up with them after the stop. 

This wound up being really great to focus on for the remainder. I was definitely feeling the effort by the end which was not helped by the logistics of the course or the wind that randomly picked up.

I should note, it was a really nice run BUT not great for a race or if you are gunning for time. A million turns and cobble stone, small paths/side walk running etc. but I did enjoy it. 

Once I hit 11.5 or so I was just focused on being done. I am really proud of my mental game these days. I have 100% improved with being better and not coasting. The out I give myself these days is that I can back off the pace for a little and more or less fartlek if it gets hard but to just keep pushing. 

The last few miles: 8:54, 9:19, 9:09, 9:04, 8:35 (.1)

I also hadn't run more than 8.5 for a long run since the last half due to whatever is going on in my leg so was impressed by being able to drop the last few. 

I finished and honestly was kind of done. I was dehydrated and lightheaded (no fuel/drink at all during the run) and took a moment to gobble a banana, drink some water and coconut water.

Should note this is Garmin time I still cannot find official results. 

Overall, happy with how I raced this and that I shaved 3 minutes off of last months half. I would love to find one in November that I don't have to travel to but can't yet so am contemplating one the first weekend of December. I think I can get closer to 2 hours before the year ends. 

I would be back to run this. The pre race stuff they were not prepared for. Taking 30 or more minutes to get your bib is unacceptable. Also being unprepared bathroom wise. 

But the staff was very friendly, bag drop was easy. I was literally able to keep my pants, long sleeve shirt, sweat shirt and gloves on until about five minutes before race time. I am really loving these smaller races, I have yet to do an NYRR race this year and am happy to branch out. I would recommend it but hope that next year they make it a little bit more seamless. 

It took me some time to warm up but I have happily spent the afternoon sipping wine, and eating my favorite post race food: this massive cobb salad from one of my favorite restaurants near me. After two days of limited greens this is a thing of beauty.

Hope everyone that raced this weekend had a good one! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Plantain Pumpkin Muffins

I am by no means in the absolute slightest way a food blogger. I honestly know that I can cook well (thanks Mom) but the majority of the time I am cooking solo and whip up random concoctions to feed whatever craving I have.

I always have plantains on hand because I am obsessed but now that fall is upon us pumpkin is creeping into everything.

Which is how these plantain pumpkin muffins came to be!

 (I also have awful lighting and an iPhone and these photos are oh so awful but the final product is not).

These have gotten the stamp of approval and recipe asked for by my sister and coworkers so I figured I would share it.

I have made a batch every week the past several and one night maybe ate three as soon as they were cool enough.

They are also on the healthier side with no added sugar but I don’t think they need them – and also right around 80 calories a pop if you care about that sort of thing. Very dense and moist (ugh makes me cringe describing as such) and delicious.

This is the basic recipe but I have made subsequent batches with chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, coconut, nut butter…the possibilities are endless.

Make them and see for yourself! But without further ado:

1 very ripe plantain
½ can of pumpkin (pure not pie mix)
1 egg
1 egg white
2 tbsp of coconut oil
½ cup of oat flour (have also made with wheat and almond – would have to tweak for coconut since it absorbs the liquid they would probably be dry with it)
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Not measured:
Vanilla extract
Pumpkin pie spice
Sea salt
Baking soda

I threw everything into my ninja and pressed blend. Then into the pan (I spray mine and don’t use liners).

Into the oven at 350 degrees – mine have been done anywhere from 12 – 15 minutes but my oven sucks so after 12 check to see if the tooth pick comes out clean.

This recipe yields 12. If you make them let me know!

Plantain and pumpkin everything. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Braving the Elements

Okay so quick question - how do we go from sucking it up through 90% humidity in the beginning of the week to being chilled to the bone in rain and wind at the end of the week? 

I have to admit I totally hate running in anything less than ideal conditions. 

I am not one that looks at the rain as a cleansing awesome running experience. 

I look at the rain and think wet shoes and socks and chafing. 

So when I looked at the weather when I woke up this morning I was less than thrilled.

However, I had promised to finally meet up with my CCFA Team Challenge peeps this morning. I am 100% the best at flaking on plans but I told myself that I had to. 

And with that I was off to the city. 

I wound up running up to the meet spot at Columbus Circle and then funny enough the majority of people DID bail. I patted myself on the back for the fact that for once I did not. However as the meeting went on and we started to chat I started to also talk myself out of running more. We wrapped up and I was like I am just running back to Penn and heading home. 

Then I started running. And I just got in the groove. The weather actually felt really good. The misty drizzle that was there on my run up was gone and it was just windy. 

I wound up having a really fantastic run! I had no route or distance in mind, I just wove around the UWS depending on what lights I hit. My pace felt comfortable and I gave myself a pat on the back after for manning up in less than ideal conditions. 

My Garmin went on the fritz though and lost satellites and then clocked one mile at 11+ when I was indeed running in the 8's mostly so the calculations for distance/time were slightly off when it wasn't clocking accurate mileage. I think it might be time to replace because it also decides to erase my runs after the fact. Argh. 

I also was breaking in a new pair of Kinvara 5's. I would like to thank Amazon for the fact that I am able to score these bad boys that I love for $40. Amazon Prime for life. 

And with that, happy Saturday and happy running! 

I am going into hibernation mode for the rest of the day since I am STILL feeling chilled. Note to self, invest in a windbreaker and some waterproof gear. Anyone have any good recommendations?