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MCM 2010

This past weekend I traveled down to Washington DC to visit friends and spectate the Marine Corps Marathon.  I’ve said it before but I love this marathon.  Anyway, here’s a few photos from the expo (where I met  a few tweeps) and the race:

@deefsu's sign for the marathon:)

@runnerchick28, @readwriterun, @deefsu, me, @bklynrunner

@jenzenator and @southbaygirl

@followjoceyln and @tinyjenna

@speedysasquatch, @russianbear, @operationjack

@EdMarathon and @rundigger

@ultrarunnergirl and I

me, @jessetchen and @speedysasquatch

@ultrarunnergirl and @MsV1959 with the Marines

@MsV1959 getting interviewed by Fox5

 

@MsV1959 and @southbaygirl

Kids dancing at the marathon!

 

 

Marines running the marathon

Where's waldo?

@tinyjenna at mile 17

 

The view from mile 17

And now I’ll return to taper-me-silly:)

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DC Bound

Here I am.  One week from now it’ll be my turn to feel the nerves, get excited and feel the excitement of marathon weekend.  This time though I am on a bus heading down to DC to partake in the excitement of MCM weekend.  A year ago that was a day that truly was amazing to me.  I can only hope those on Sunday can experience some of the magic I felt.  If you’re running I’ll be out on the course cheering!

This week I’ve just been throwing some taper runs in including my last “long” run with my AM crew.  Wednesday was a creepy bridges run as it was just me on the Manhattan Bridge.  That was um a bit like being in a scary movie. I started counting people the rest of the run and came up with 7 people I saw my entire run. 7?!  Come on people don’t wuss out on the account of a few sprinkles!  Bah.

And yes I’m following the same taper schedule of crazy amounts of work.  Who needs sleep?

So as taper continues, I’ve set my sights on next Sunday.

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Dress Rehearsal

Yesterday marked the last long run until November 7th.  As part of the mental preparation I spoke about in my earlier post, this long run was all about getting intel on the course.  I met up with MP for the last 17 of the course starting all the way in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Right away the excitement was there with the marathon route banners up (which definitely helped in Queens and Bronx). The weather? Can I bottle some of that for November 7th?  Cool but not cold.   Little wind. Nice.

The run took us through the Hasidic part of Brooklyn as we saw the men dressed for Sabbath (including the rockin’ hats).  Turns out the NYT had an article on these hats: they’re over 8 grand! Woah. Running along Bedford Ave we passed many enjoying brunch and the crisp autumn day. It’s enjoyable to watch people on a weekend.  It’s definitely a much happier environment.  Heading up the Pulaski Bridge I noticed the 13 and 13.1 mark. That will be my half way point in a couple weeks.

Heading into Queens it’s pretty desolate.  We didn’t see anyone until we looked ahead to see a guy being held by 2 guys accompanied with lots of screaming.  We stared ahead and 2 guys started to advance on us.  Right away we turned and that’s when I made the comment we were in an episode of Law and Order.  Only problem is this was real.  Eek.  Finally we reached the Queensboro and bid adieu to Queens.

First Avenue brings back memories to me as I used to be an UES resident.  It’s remarkable how fast places close/reopen/etc.  I took note of the incline on the road in the 70s.  Nothing horrible but at mile 17 one needs to be alert of that and not mentally think they are slow for no reason.  The 80s marked my true old stomping grounds.  My old bagel shop, bakery (best black and white cookies in the city), grocery, etc.  Harlem came next and that’s when the cat calls started.  Ah Harlem gotta love it.  Those were accompanied with “win it in 2 weeks.”  I gave a fist pump to him.  Heading into the Bronx I remember what this felt like.  It was very difficult to mentally think there was another borough before finishing the darn thing.

Back in Manhattan it wasn’t bad until 110th and 5th.  That’s where a real solid incline starts and the mind will really need to work overtime to keep the legs moving.   I started to kick it up a notch as the last 4 miles I progressively sped up.  Mentally I want this to be there race day.  Running around the park I started to visual what 2 weeks from now will feel like.  What that pain will feel like.  Visualize the crowd.  It’s going to be amazing.

Heading towards Tavern on the Green I picked it up to a final gear and with a giant smile crossed the fictitious finish line for the day.  I’ll be back for a true finish in a couple weeks.  Overall the pace was a shade over 9 with the last 4 dipping down into the 830s with a final push at an 8:10 clip.  All in all mission accomplished.  A confidence builder and I didn’t beat myself up in the process.

Bocche Ball in Central Park

Refueling at Whole Foods. Honeycrisp Apple the size of my cheek!

Today was an off day.  I headed up to Tallman State Park with AC for some easy hiking to enjoy the fall foliage.  Hooray for the taper.

AC and I with the Hudson in the background.

Pretty fall foliage

Sunset on 10/23 from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

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One to go

I’m going to flat-out say it.  This week has been a complete I LOVE RUNNING week.  It’s a welcome feeling after hitting a couple of weeks of ‘blah, blah, blah.’  Between the weather cool down, great company and getting the bounce in my legs again I’m getting totally pumped to hit the streets November 7th.  The past few runs I’ve started and my legs just wanted to go, go, go.  Love it. Runs included: a sub 8 min/mile run to work Tuesday, progression run Wednesday night in the park with an old teammate and a bridges run with the AM crew on Thursday.  I kind of feel like this

 

 


It feels effortless.  Kind of a weeeeee feeling…

I’ve also started to put together my “pump me up for NYCM playlist”.

playlist nyc

Some of the usual suspects here but probably some not so familiar.  Not to worry this is only for the ferry ride/pre-run nerves.  I feed off the energy during a race.

Oh, and for some humor check out the video on my Staten Island Half pictures page.  For those of you that are Jersey Shore watchers you’ll love my finish line approach.

http://www.brightroom.com/view_user_event_video.asp?EVENTID=61992&PWD=&BIB=1272
No other big news to report.  No news is good news right?  Today is an off day thanks to a solid case of insomnia last night.  I’m a bit worried as I tend to get bad bouts with it as training winds down.  Tomorrow is my last 20+ miler before the marathon (woohoo!!!!) before heading to Philly to visit the family.  Fingers crossed this was an anomaly.  Catch you on the flip side!

Anyone else out there find they get cases of insomnia during training?  I find it’s one way or another: either I can’t stop sleeping or I can’t sleep!

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I’m tired.  I knew 3 marathons in one year would be a very tall task.  I’m at the point in training where my body wants rest.  It craves sleep.  It wants to take a break. My hip decided to make itself known again (now that I’m giving it love again it’s quieting down).

I need to mentally get into it – I know without that November 7th will not be a fun day.  I always hit this place about now but it never makes it any easier.  That said I’ve got some good stuff coming up.  I’m running Staten Island next weekend (first unaffiliated race!!!).  I’m not sure on my game plan on this race just yet.  I’m going hiking next weekend and perhaps apple picking. All fun things put together.

So what’s my point?  I’m trying to find that balance.  It’s tough with work being work (it never really ends) and the mileage increasing it starts to suck a bit out of you.  I know I’ll get through this and mentally I know I’m tough enough.  Help keep me motivated:)

This week was another big week.  I put up another 19 today on the same terrain as last week.  The trails are so forgiving on the legs and truly work your core/agility.  It also helps to have great company which make the miles peel away.  Good thing it’s the same company as race day in 5 weeks:)  Why I love the trails?  Even the same route is different every time.  Plus, you run into “friends.”

deer

Deer in the path.

We were running when all of a sudden I look up and saw these 2 deer. I joked that they cheat with 4 legs and will complete the trail run a lot faster than us.  Sure enough look who we saw a couple of miles later (sorry for the crappy picture quality).

deer againWe finished with an even 19 and most important, legs that didn’t feel beat up.  So much fun and so nice to have access so close to home.

Elevation chart - mmm cliff stairs and hills at the end:)

This afternoon I ended up having brunch on Smith Street in Brooklyn at 3:30pm.  Best meal invention ever and I love in NYC it lasts this long:) It is breakfast/lunch after all:)  Great to catch up with a friend that moved out-of-town and just relax.

Tonight finished up with random fireworks on the east river.  Oh, how nice it is to have them on the RIGHT side of the river.

random fireworksLast, congrats to all racers this past weekend.  Lots of great performances and it’s great to see all the hard work going to good use.  Good luck to anyone racing next weekend.

Time for some zzz.  Recovery run tomorrow.  Keep chugging…

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Glutton for punishment

A friend of mine said something to me that made me chuckle a bit.  We were talking and I mentioned that I was giving a speech today during my Toastmasters club.  Her words to me “boy, you’re a glutton for punishment. I bet you iron for fun.” haha.  Let it be noted I do not enjoy ironing. I’m not that bad.

It got me to thinking why do we do some of the things we do?  What pushes us to do things outside of our comfort zone?

Toastmasters is a public speaking club.  I don’t like public speaking but I sign up willingly to do this during my lunch hour at work?  What?  And this is fun?  Actually, it is.  I get to speak about events in my life and things that are a passion to me.  Unsurprisingly, running is a big topic.  I’m giving a speech on Pikes Peak today;-)  I still get nervous and don’t really enjoy that feeling per say but I do it.

I’m an engineer in the construction industry.  Not only is this profession male dominated but engineers tend to be the bottom of the food chain.  Wait, what? You chose this profession?

I played the trumpet.  I was the only female in the trumpet section yet became a squad leader by senior year.

I run.  Marathons were great but then Pikes Peak became my mission.  There were those that didn’t believe in me and I knew this would be the hardest thing I’ve done to date. No regrets and I hope to be back out on that mountain one day.

I moved to NYC not knowing a single person here straight from college.

Looking at it I think rather than punishment it’s more the thrill of the unknown.  The excitement that goes along with something new and fresh.  Getting too comfortable isn’t my style. For me, it’s not punishment but rather living life.  It’s no fun to stay inside and follow someone’s coattails all the time. Carpe diem people!

Everyone’s been asking what’s next after November 7?  Good question.  Here’s a small hint.  I turn 31 next year.  Think of a race that can go along with that number…;-)

What’s something you do that others may see as “punishment”?

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8 weeks til showtime

8 weeks. Crazy talk.  I was originally worried about running another marathon this fall after the year I’ve had thus far.  Would I be able to amp back up for a big push towards November 7?  Would I find that will to want to run a road marathon?  Well, after this week of training, I think I feel safe to say YES.  I’m finding that groove in training and getting assimilated back into the hectic lifestyle of New York.  I admit it – Colorado definitely made it tough for me to get back in the groove.

Speedwork.  While I’ve run since Pikes Peak, I hadn’t really tried to find the speed gears.  I was a bit nervous about pushing too much, too soon.  However, with the Philly half next weekend (the day after Yom Kippur – eek) I figured I’d should make sure the speedy legs haven’t left me.  So Thursday night I headed out after work to run home with a side of tempo down the WSH.  Goal?  Hit slightly below HMP and see how it feels.  I needed to get some confidence in my speedy legs – that they did still exist.

Good news – 3 miles – 7:31, 7:34, 7:29.  Felt good and was wearing my daypack on a fairly windy night.  Finished off the run with MP at around 8:10-8:15 pace. 

Long run I tamed down this week with 18 last week and 15 miles in 12 hours between Thursday/Friday.  I headed uptown and ran the VCP rails trails. 11 miles in around 1:36.  Nothing crazy.  Legs felt fresh.

Today I headed back to the gym for core/strength training.  This part of my training program has been MIA.  I really do want to bring this back in for the final push to NYCM.

This week?  Mini taper with the Philly half on Sunday.  I’m not sure what to expect since I won’t be loading up like a normal race the day before.  I’ll know pretty quickly how the legs respond.

Finally, I leave you with images from 9/11/2010.

Sunset from the promenade.

Sunset and Lady Liberty under a reddish sky

The NY Skyline with the towers of light

Love the clouds in this one.

There’s more but these are a few of my favorites:)  have a great week everyone!

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Cab ride from hell

Generally you get a cabbie that’s either a) incompetent or b) rude. My ride home from LGA hit the jackpot: both.

Where to begin.
Upon entering the cab, I was asked for the address at which point he responded “how do I get there.” Oh boy. I’ve dealt with this before especially upon moving to Brooklyn. I wrote down his medallion number, license and name. Little did I know…

We start driving and he begins talking on his hands free device. This is fine and good but a no-no in the cabbie rules. Normally I don’t care but this was strike 2.  Stress building.

We’re heading over on the BQE to Brooklyn and I notice a GIANT sign stating “heavy delays to Mcguiness Blvd 2 lanes blocked.” This is a good 3 miles where we were in slow-moving traffic.

At this point, the cabbie was in the left lane. He didn’t bother to move over to get off at an exit and continued gabbing on the phone. My normal calm demeanor was leaving. I asked him about getting off and taking side streets. His response? I didn’t see a sign.  I don’t know the area do you? I respond “well, actually that’s your job.” He laughed and said how he knew the roads. Right buddy.

At this point, the BQE was turning into a parking lot. My vacation glow was dimming.  Realizing we were in trouble I brought up getting off and he started yelling back at me! Yikes.  Being I was in the middle of the BQE, I couldn’t exit stage left. All I could see was cars and trucks as far as I could see. Frustration. Anger. Oh, New York. You’re supposed to show me love!  I was missing the cool, calm mountains of Colorado.

I could tell he was frustrated but it’s hard for me to feel for him! We sat for over ONE HOUR. I was able to take pictures and feel the steam coming out of my ears. I wanted out of that cab in the worst way!

Help me! Cars as far as the eye can see...

Finally, we break free and he starts to speed down the BQE proceeding to ask me for directions! I navigate him through the streets and to my building.

I pay. No tip. Considering it cost me more money and unbelievable stress this was hardly a service! At this point I notice he doesn’t get out to help me with my suitcase and the trunk is not popped open!

I leave the passenger door open until I hear the trunk pop open. I head back taking the huge suitcase out myself.  As soon as I take the suitcase out on the street he speeds away. He didn’t even wait to see if I was out-of-the-way before speeding off. I was furious!

Upon entering my 5000 degree apartment, I called 311 and reported him. I’ve never done that before but this was not even a question. Never have I experienced such a horrendous ride in my NYC life.

The NYC skyline from the BQE. Get me home!

Welcome back. NYC sure has a funny sense of humor;)  My goal this weekend?  Find my NYC mojo again.  This week has done its best imitation of I hate NY.  Reality is such a buzzkill;-)

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Free Agent

This is something that has been in the works  and I’ve given it ample thought: I am no longer running for the running club: The Reservoir Dogs.

It’s been a great 5 1/2 yrs and I’m thankful for everything the team has given me. Without TRD, I’m not sure I’d still be a resident of NYC. I’ve met some great friends – some still here, some moving on. So many wonderful things.  I discovered runs for food, speedwork as well as general fun times around town.

But…
I need a change. I’ve found myself hardly running with the team anymore. I rarely attend any social functions. There’s no coached speed work which I really want to use to continue to improve. I have friends but now there are so many people who I don’t know when I do attend runs. And finally, when I did tell close friends of my decision it was a huge monkey off my back. While emotional, I know that since it felt that way, I followed my heart.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to grow and embrace change.

I think the vacation was a great time for me to put it all in perspective. I look at it as a new horizon – a new beginning.  I think it’s good to mix up the recipe now and then. After all my year of 30 has certainly been anything but routine.

So with that, I’ve stripped my affiliation for NYCM and am officially a free agent. For now, I’ll run with friends and enjoy. I need to figure out what the right fit is for me.

So thank you TRD. I’ll still cheer for you at races and remain friends. You’ve given me so much; it’s the least I can do. It certainly has been a fun ride.

The plan is to be a free agent through the rest of the year and go from there. I’d like to research a bit and find a club that fits running and social needs.  So I guess follow along on my journey…

Team Champs 2009

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When I first told friends and family I was planning to head west to Colorado for a vacation, my sister-in-law’s immediate response was “uh oh.”  Confused I asked why.  I had heard such amazing things about Colorado so it was very shocking to get a response like that.  She responded “well, we may not get you back.”   I laughed. That, my friends, was astonishing to me as you know I’ve become a homeowner in NYC and do love my city.  Well, 10 days later I can say something I haven’t said about many places: I could totally live there.

Jumping for joy for completing Pikes Peak at Shrine Ridge

I feel funny saying that because over the past 7 years of living in NYC I’ve traveled a great deal but never have I felt such a connection as I did on this trip.  I’m not sure if it had to do with the special circumstance of running Pikes Peak Marathon or what, but the entire trip was just amazing.  What you ask made me feel this way.  Well, let’s see…in 10 days I was in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak, Edwards/Vail area, and Boulder.  There’s also something to be said about the power of mountains to bring life to you.

Oh I'll miss seeing this daily

I was able to do all the things I love: hike, run, eat, sleep. Repeat.  All of my favorite things.  The people were nice for the most part and the lifestyle is just chill. I remember showing up in Boulder and my cousins saying “don’t worry about changing” (I was in my hiking gear!).  I was in awe of the sense of pride people in Colorado have for their state.  They definitely enjoy the fact that their life is around the outdoors.  I also imagine they laugh at people like me that come out all wide eyed and in a honeymoon state.

I saw stars – hello big dipper and a full moon over the city of Boulder. I saw purple majesty in a sunset over Boulder – the sky painted colors I’ve never seen before.  I saw all kinds of wildlife – hello bison, white horses, deer, and bluejay.  I think I saw more trails than I’ve seen in my life – so unbelievably jealous.  Bikes everywhere.  Oh Colorado, why do you taunt me so?

Bison chilling out by Genesee Park

It’s tough sitting here on a plane trying to think about the experiences I’ve had in just 10 days.  From my day on Pikes Peak to hiking up a trail in Vail to over 10,000 feet to running a trail from my cousin’s backyard up a part of one of the flatiron mountains in Boulder (I’ll be back to finish that baby up) to rounding up my trip with a Colorado Rockies game.  Just wow.  How does one to begin to even put it all together.  Hopefully, the 500+ pictures I took will help.

Colorado clouds and mountains

Here’s my itinerary covered in the time in Colorado:
– Red Rocks Park
– Genesee Park
– Pikes Peak Cog Train Ride (minus my camera because I’m an idiot that left the memory card at home – fortunately made friends so I will have pictures soon!)
– Andrea’s Roller Derby Bout (my first time at a bout!)
– Pikes Peak Marathon
– Vail/Ski Museum
– Camp Hale (10th Mountain Division) and Leadville
– Outdoor concert  in Vail
– Berry Picker Trail in Vail and a sunset
– Hanging Lake Trail and Jazz in the Vail Square
– Shrine Ridge Trail/Boulder – CU
– Dakota Ridge Trail in Boulder
-Colorado Rockies game
-the many people I met along the way!

 

I know many of you are asking, what the heck…didn’t you run a marathon last week.  Yep, but I’ll be damned to sit and watch this trip go by.  Just like I mentioned about turning 30, I’m taking the bull by the horn and living it up.  I can only hope this trip is a sign of the years to come.  I felt so alive during this vacation and it was so needed after enduring some pretty brutal months.  I feel blessed and lucky to be able to experience life like this and can only hope the opportunity presents itself again (I’ll make it happen).

Colorado: Thank you.  Thank you for breathing some life into me. Thank you for celebrating so many things with me, among them embracing 30. Thank you for sharing your beauty with me and I can only hope the next visit isn’t in another 30 years.    I’m sure the pictures will help make sure of making a return visit. 

With that, it’s back to reality.  I intend to make that reality where more dreams come true.  As I found out on this trip, you are the only one that can make those dreams a reality.  So follow along, I have a feeling more dreams are going to become realities.  (Can you see I’m a bit of an optimist?)

Next up: revving up the engine for NYC Marathon on November 7.  It’s time to get in the saddle and prepare for a 26.2 mile journey unlike any of the others before.   I’ve definitely got my mojo to run; it’s now about using this past 10 day journey to propel me towards the finish line at Tavern on the Green.  I guess it’s time for this blog to enter the next facet of the year of 30: the NYC Marathon.  Are you ready?  Time will tell but mentally I’m ready to log the miles and put in the work needed to get through this last leg of my year of 30.  Don’t worry; though 30 concludes, who says there isn’t time for an encore performance?

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