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Posts Tagged ‘nyc’

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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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

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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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Falling back in love

Leaving Colorado was sad for me. It was a vacation that left me longing to go back and made coming back to the insanity that is NYC very tough. I’m sure it didn’t help that it was 95 degrees and humid! However, my mission this long weekend? Find that spark again!

Thank you, NYC for giving me this past weekend to chew on. I needed every second to saturate me with your charm. I needed it to believe in you and why I’m here.

So what did it? I think it was a combination of things.  For one, having it feel more like september than august. It certainly was a welcome addition to sleep with the windows open and not sweat like I’m out on a 20 mile run walking out the door.

Travel the boroughs. I made it to 4 boroughs and Westchester without the assistance of a car!  I did consider taking the ferry to Staten Island but there just wasn’t enough time.

Kayaking in the NY Harbor

A school in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Friends time! I was able to catch up with several friends this weekend. From running to margaritas at boat basin to running in Van Cortlandt I enjoyed every second.

Running. Duh. Even with the alarm snafu, it was a delightful 18 catching up in my outdoor office:) Sunday meant VCP and a little encounter with the trail:)

I make it up and down a 14,000+ ft mountain and can't make it on a mostly flat trail!

Random. I kayaked with the NY Harbor at my fingertips. All I could do was smile as I realized, “yep, this is home.” It continued as I wandered over to Red Hook for the sake of a delicious bakery and even more gorgeous views of NYC.

Grasshopper brownie from Baked in Red Hook!

Statue of Liberty from Red Hook

This is what it’s about. Not just one thing but everything together makes NYC so special. We’ll have our spats but overall I really do love you NY. Just keep reminding me! 🙂

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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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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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