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! 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Run for the Parks 4M Recap

Let me just start with work is getting in the way of my social media use. My network officially shut down Tuesday (I still have a job though for 3 months as we decommission the US offices) and it is BUSY. How do people spend time on social media that work full time?!?! I literally have not opened Instagram all week. 

Anyways enough of that. Figure a quick race recap is in order since I ran myself a new 4 mile PR on Sunday! 

I signed up to run this race purely for the fact that my NYRR pace was a 10:07 or something with the new system taken from my miserable 2015 NYCM that I ran with a stress fracture and Crohn’s flare. I do not run NYRR races much anymore because I don’t like paying to run in Central Park (especially those prices) and they are always crowded. But the new pace on file made me mad and I wanted to redeem myself. 

Insert Sunday, race morning I get my period (sorry TMI) and my stomach hurts, it is freezing and I am so NOT in the mood to race. 

Central Park was pretty though! 

Anyways I meet Beth and her coworker Eric there and they jump into my corral, J, since I refuse to try and push forward, hashtag am unable to be dishonest. As we are waiting I was just very blah about trying to race, my legs were numb from the cold!

About 17 minutes after the first people started we were FINALLY off. 

I immediately take off around the outside knowing I will have to weave this whole race. I don’t know what it is but something about crossing that mat puts me into competitive mode even when not feeling it. 

Anyways I knew I was off and getting into a good groove.

Mile 1 including Cat Hill done: 8:09

I see that split and that I am under PR pace and that motivates me. 

Mile 2: 7:58

I almost jumped for joy when I saw that. First time in a race splitting under 8! I knew we were coming to the rolling hills so I was glad to have banked some time. 

Mile 3: 8:29

Ugh those hills. That is all. I gave it my best and rode the pain of pushing. 

I took advantage of the downhills as much as possible and it paid off.

Mile 4: 7:51 (!!)

And just like that BOOM. 45 second PR. 32:47

I would like to note that I ran 4.05 by my Garmin (obviously I was weaving and passing people the entire race starting so far back) and that .05 was 6:29 pace! Hello legs, speedier than I thought capable.

Overall, thrilled. A week post half marathon, and PR’ing. My running is improving, I feel like I am doing everything right with my training. I also have gotten very good at pushing during races. My motto with races is just to go for it. Worst case, I blow up and slow down. But if you don’t try you will never know. Stop letting what your watch pace says effect what your body is telling you to do. 

AND a lovely new NYRR pace. Mission accomplished!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Ladies First Half Marathon Recap

It's a week later...better late than never, right?

Going into this race I had no race plan. My goal for the spring was to get back to sub 2 for the half and see where I was to PR in 2016 (need to beat 1:53:14). 

And well, I got that sub 2 a few weeks before so was content knowing that I am in that shape. 

I am in the throws of some medical stuff, and awaiting results to find out if I need surgery for another GI issue, SMA syndrome (unrelated to Crohn's I have just hit the crappy GI system jackpot!). While we wait on that I had to go off of my medication which had been helping with my IBS (seriously my gut sucks). Anyways because of that I really didn't plan on racing. I have another half marathon in a week so figured I would use it as a training run and if I felt good then go for it. 

My sister was running the race too (and PR'd the HELL out of it without trying running an amazing 1:49!) and am happy that she mentioned bringing a hat, because with the steady rain that began 5 minutes before the start I was so damn happy to have one. I have never run with a hat before but now am wondering why I didn't all these years. 

Waiting in the rain for the start.
We started running and honestly the rain wasn't too bad. I had to make a stop in the first mile realizing that I hadn't double tied my sneakers. Nice rookie mistake! 

This is the same course that I ran a few weeks prior. That first out and back I was basically right on the cusp on the 2 hour mark. When I hit mile 5 I had two options. I could try and pick up the pace for sub 2 or I could ease up. I choose the latter. My stomach was in knots and I just wasn't feeling running hard. When I ran the 1:58 the pace felt good. To hit it for this race was going to be real work. 

I don't even know how many half marathons I have run but I have totally lucked out, this was the first time I have ever had to race in the rain. There is something badass about it but at the same time after an hour or so it just gets old! I was definitely over this race around mile 8. I kept picking up the pace but then my stomach would hurt and I would have to slow down. The last few miles it was a toss up between wanting to speed up and finish and not wanting to put forth the effort that required! 

I was drenched, I was wearing shorts and a tank and it was all just soaked. The last few miles of a half can be challenging but it took all my willpower to keep on going.

Final time: 2:04:13

Splits: 9:08, 9:15, 9:09, 9:10, 9:09, 9:21, 9:28, 9:15, 9:31, 9:29, 10:00, 9:53, 9:35, 9:04

As you can see at mile 5 I decided to ease up. And miles 11 and 12 where I was over the whole race thing, haha. 

I was happy that I had the foresight to bring plastic bags and a trash bag to put my bag in during bag check. I was frozen and sopping wet and dry clothes were so welcome. 

Overall, per usual, a great race by NYCRuns. I really enjoy only having a few hundred runners. Next week I am running the Queens Half and if my legs are feeling good I think it might be another good time to try for a sub 2. I am also thrilled that there are bathrooms on the course! These past two half marathons do not have any so that messes with me. I typically hold back out of the fear of running hard and needing a pit stop. 

Until the next one!