Almost showtime…

We’re 15 days til showtime, NYC style. The excitement is starting to build as this will complete my year of 30. My last long run is tomorrow as MP and I will complete the last 16 of the course. If that doesn’t pump one up, not sure anything will!

So Meals for Miles brought up the always present question: goals!

It may sound hokey but finishing and wanting to do another 26.2 is #1. It sounds simple but after completing my Chitown cycle me and running weren’t friends for a little while.  Never want to feel like that again!

#2. Time? I always set A,B.C goals.  It leads itself to creating concrete times.  A goal? 3:35. B goal? Sub 3:40. C goal? Sub 3:50.  Will I be upset if something happens and I don’t meet these goals? Sure but I know after 8 of these sometimes it just isn’t your day (see steamtown, Chicago and Philly).  The marathon is about everything coming together on that day.  It’s hard but it truly is an amazing feeling to be clicking on all cylinders.

#3. Celebrate the year of 30. I ran NYCM in 2004 just a year and a few months after moving here. I didn’t know many people. This year I’ll have friends, family, coworkers along the course! It should be pretty awesome:) I’m pretty psyched this is how my year of 30 will finish.

Taper is in full effect. I’m trying to keep the hip tendonitis quiet and keeping the mind rested. I find this time period when I cleanse the body and mind. It’s a tricky balance as anyone that has suffered through the taperworm knows:) I’ll throw in some pace runs to keep the legs fresh but as my dad astutely has said “you can never run too little during a taper.” (I can attest as last year the week before MCM I didn’t run the week beforE!)

Suffice to say it looks like work will be nutty again before the race. There’s one solid way to stay preoccupied:) I’m typing this on my way home after another 12 hour day (finished today). Runners kitchen wrote about that balance but man it’s gotten harder as I’ve worked my way up the corporate food chain!  Hence the blog silence.

11.5 miles this morning – great company, good conversation, and the  miles flew by with a bridges and east river run.

As for that topic about a certain race in April, I think it’s been beaten to death. It’ll be what it’ll be.

Keep runnin’!


5 bridges

For those that have had the honor of running with me you know when I do my long runs they are anything but ordinary.  Anyone can go run loops of Central Park or run along the West Side Highway.  Ha.  I go all out in plotting routes to include varying routes and degrees of difficulty.  Today as I set my sights on the final 20 miler of 2010 (is it true? No more marathons this year?) it was time to conquer the bridges.  As my blog name suggests, this 20 miler set out to conquer the bridges.  As an added bonus, the nor’easter left behind some rather gusty, blustery winds.  Fortunately for our crew we didn’t have enough time to do my original route to include a loop of Prospect Park too.  Oh boy!

Today AC and MP joined me on this journey.  It set off innocently enough as we headed east to bridge #1: the Queensboro aka TK’s bridge.  We hit every single light on the way to the bridge which made me comment on how I was glad we were reversing the route.  As we ran along Central Park South I thought about how I’d feel there in just 22 days!  I also noticed the slight incline.  Seriously NYC loves to throw in the inclines everywhere.

The whole run my legs seemed effortless to move.  After the Queensboro we maneuvered our way through Queens (harder than you think!) and headed onward over the Pulaski and into Brooklyn.  The smells of brunch in Greenpoint and Williamsburg made it tough to keep moving on towards our third bridge: Williamsburg.  Both AC and MP had never run over it – two cherries were popped, eh;)  The wind created some fun spots as it blew you silly and made us look more like cartoon characters trying to run and going nowhere (think Scooby Doo).

Dodging the tourists on the Bowery we headed towards the Manhattan Bridge to go to Brooklyn and returned the favor by taking the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan.  The Brooklyn Bridge was a true frogger event between tourons, the Breast Cancer walk and bikes.  I nearly took out two or three people with a bike coming close to taking me out.  The usual experience midday on a weekend.  Note to those looking to run over a bridge to Brooklyn: take the Manhattan if you can, it’s pretty empty.

remember this game? I was living in it!

The last section of the run was the windiest.  There was absolutely no protection from the water with the wind directly hitting us for about 10 miles. It was brutal but one of those things you know that will come in handy on race day.  I’ve always held onto runs that were tough and make me dig a little deeper.  For Boston, it was that brutal February morning I ran 20 on icy roads.  As we hit the WSH, I wanted to throw down some MP miles.  The last 4 turned into 8:20-8:30 pace (a little slower) but given the wind issues I’ll take it.  Legs felt amazing and honestly as I sit here tonight they feel really good.
Here’s the route:
View Interactive Map on MapMyRun.com

With 3 weeks to go, I have to say I’m encouraged.  I think things are coming together at the right time and hopefully this translates to peaking on race day.  I feel like something just started to click after that little dry spot.  Hard to believe but this is my last 20 miler of 2010 (out of oh so many!).  The plan now is to stay healthy, keep the legs fresh, eat sensibly and prepare mentally for November 7th.  After 8 encounters with 26.2, the mental aspect is so unbelievably large (this is a post for another day).

Tomorrow I’ll head out for an easy recovery run in the park by my parents’ house where fall foliage is starting to show. 

Do you enjoy varying your routes?  Even if it’s a short run do you try to mix it up?

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.

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!

Building Blocks

Some races you go in with a PR mentality and others are meant to form a foundation for something bigger.  With November 7th just 4 weeks away, today I used Staten Island to do a bit of practice for the big show.

While many of my friends set huge PRs, today was meant to be a confidence booster for NYC Marathon.  After Philly, I felt a bit beat up and began to ponder if my goals for November were too lofty.  I think it’s all part of the training but it doesn’t make it any easier to stomach.  So my goals for today were to go out, run marathon pace and nothing further.  No thoughts of PR in the head or anything unattainable for 26.2.  That goal?  8:10-8:15 pace.  So how did my plan go?

The day started early with a 6:30am ferry to Staten Island.  Properly fueled I enjoyed a ferry ride with pushthruphilly.  I watched the sunrise and smiled seeing the Verrezano draw closer.  This to me was a dress rehearsal.  It was crisp but as the sun rose the rays gave warmth.  I caught up with Runnin’ Around Uptown and we headed out for an easy warmup.  With the chill we definitely needed it to try to work out the kinks.  Heading back we headed to the back of the corral so we didn’t get sucked into a pace we wanted no part of today.

As the horn sounded, we started off.  I gave a fist pump crossing the start line and it was time to get down to business.  Immediately there were people flying by us but I could feel we were right on the money.  Unlike 3 weeks ago, everything felt good.  There was no hesitation in “can I really do this?”   AC and I dropped right into conversation and the miles seemed to melt away.  We’d walk through to get our water/gu.  Then pick right back up.  While some may say you are wasting valuable time, I have found it allows for time to actually get liquid down and stomach it.  Looking at my splits, it didn’t lose tremendous time.  Even with the rolling hills, I felt comfortable.  I fell into my metronome, pacemaster set of timing.  Sadly my garmin went a bit wacky so the mile splits don’t make sense but I could feel the pace (as is evidence by the time today).

It was funny getting to mile 11 and I remember looking over to AC and saying “already?” or something to that effect.  It just felt good.

Approaching the finish line I got my fist pump ready (no Snooki to be found – must have been too early!).  I’m hoping the brightroom photographers captured this moment.  I felt good so hey why not have a little fun out there;-)  Final time: 1:48:02/8:15 pace.  Bingo.


Splits courtesy of AC. Includes warmup obviously.



Amazing how a good workout and solid race can help rejuvenate the body.  I’m excited for the last push to November 7.  If this week is any indication, there are good things ahead.  This course was anything but neither is NYCM.  Let’s hope I can do this for another 13.1 in 4 weeks;)

One thing: People, when you’re at mile 8, you are not ALMOST there.  Yes, we just got up a hill but that does not constitute almost there.

Second: Men, please wash your clothes and make sure they’re not incredibly stinky after.  There were several violators in the corral this morning.  Yuck.  At least in the winter the bengay covers it;)

So now I’m entering the final big week.  One last 20-22 miler on Sunday.  Yes!

I’ll end with a couple of sunset photos and apples (went apple picking Saturday!).  Quote of the day from my friend Sharon: “She’s being all awe inspiring and sh*t” – in reference to the Statue of Liberty

Exit crankiness

I felt like this before the workout

Sometimes the best workouts stem from when you least want to be there. Ever feel that?

Last night as I was finishing up work for the day, thoughts of going home, throwing on sweats and having a beer entered my head. My energy was depleted and I felt absolutely fatigued. Yet the other side of me kept yelling “November 7!” and “you know you’ll feel better”. The mind is powerful. Even going to the subway I thought about hopping the subway and heading home.

What happened? With @SpeedySasquatch tapering for Chicago (woohoo! Kill it!), the workout wasn’t too rigorous. 6×800. I knew it’d still be tough on tired legs. Tired legs that had not rested in 5 days. Apparently, they’re still speedy and faster?

6×800 (or .52 on the great lawn track)

1. 3:31  6:45 pace

2. 3:29  6:41

3. 3:30 6:43

4. 3:30 6:43

5. 3:28  6:40

6. 3:26  6:36

Woah. Where did this come from? I was pretty excited to throw this down on tired legs and none of my other pacing buddies around for this workout.  The last time we did this I ran a good 4-5 seconds slower.  I definitely like the consistency.  It tells me I wasn’t running an unreasonable pace and hey, I may actually be getting faster.

It’s encouraging and a good shot in the legs to make that final push to November 7th.  I finished feeling like below.

Finally, it’s that time again!  Phillies!!! It’s time to bring out the October magic boys!!  Let’s go!  Bring the World Championship back to Philly!  Sleep may be an issue in the next month…

Chugging along

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 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…

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”?