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Posts Tagged ‘Voldemort’

As I begin to reflect on the events of yesterday, it’s hard to even put in words all the emotions and feelings that occurred during this race.  Pikes Peak Marathon is nicknamed “America’s Ultimate Challenge” and they don’t lie. This race is not meant for the average joe that just wants to do a marathon.  It takes true heart, guts and determination to get up and down a mountain.  That said, I wanted this challenge.  I wanted it badly as I have been writing and talking about this for almost a year.  It actually started last year after my friend Andrea finished the marathon and I decided this would be my 30th birthday present to myself. There also was a tremendous metaphor in this as I feel like reaching 30 I’ve become a very different person than the shy girl that moved to NYC at age 22.  Mostly though, I wanted the challenge.  I wanted something different and Pikes Peak definitely presented a challenge and a very different kind of adventure.    

So race day.  I had taken the cog train (one of 3 in the US) to the top of Pikes Peak on Saturday to get a feel for what the conditions at the summit.  It should be noted I never had really been at altitude before so it was all new.  Anyway we drove down to the race and cut it a bit close to the start but honestly, did it really matter?  That’s the difference between this and a road race.  We chose to hit the bathroom first so I actually missed the official starting gun.  No biggie.  It meant as we started we got personal cheering;)    

I started out with my friend for the first mile before she took off.  I knew it was going to be a long day and my intentions were to finish with a smile on my face.  I remember running up the roads and hitting the trailhead.  That’s when it really hit.  I was heading UP UP UP.  I was stuck behind a lot of walkers right away which was OK for a little while but it was even too slow for my power hiking.  I was able to pass a few people but didn’t expend too much energy.  As so many Pikes veterans have told me, it’s about keeping the legs moving forward and don’t waste energy – you’ll need it!    

  As we hit mile 5 (8 miles to the summit) my legs felt pretty good.  However, I knew don’t take anything for granted the race doesn’t really start til you hit A-frame (aka the treeline).  I met some friends around Barr Camp and we stuck together all the way up.  One woman was from Kansas and had come to run this after overcoming breast cancer.  Another woman had run this 11 times and 75 total marathons.  It was a blast and really helped me pass the time.  I wore my camelbak which was a very good move – aid stations were about every hour on the ascent!  As we reached the A-frame, I remember the aid volunteers welcoming us.  This is when I looked up and went WOAH.  All I can say is it was a long ways to the summit – I was in switchbacks hell.  Again, I was pre-warned about this so I knew there was quite a while to reach the summit.  This is when things got a little sour.  My calves started burning worse than I had ever felt before.  It was awful.  Fortunately the women I was with comforted me and just kept helping me remember to keep moving forward.  I saw Andrea at this point and she was on her way down.  She asked how I felt and I lied that I felt fine…but didn’t lie that I’d see her at the finish line;)    

This is only part of the way up. The views just got better

 

As runners continued to pass, I knew it was one step closer to ending the burning calves and a faster down.  Again, I was told 75% of the race is the up.  Funny since I’m used to mile 20 being the beginning of a marathon!  Again I look up and all I saw were switchbacks of runners.  Oy.  Where the heck are these golden stairs?  The golden stairs are what are the last switchbacks up to the summit.  They really aren’t golden and you shouldn’t bother counting.  They’re rocky and it’s a last calf buster as you approach the summit.  By now, I felt like a snail and was getting encouragement from the other runners how once you turn around it’s a whole new ball game.  All that kept going through my head is keep moving forward.  One foot, now the next.  Refuse to quit.  Oh and thoughts of Katharine Lee Bates using the summit of Pikes Peak as the basis for America the Beautiful.  If there was a bit more oxygen, I may have started singing.  As it was, thoughts were all there would be at this point.  Finally, I reach a switch back and look to see a sign for the Pikes Peak Marathon.  I had made it…to the summit!  13.32 miles down…less than a half marathon to go;)    

A little taste of life on the trail

 

This was the ascent finish but Sunday this was my just past half way point

 

 Coming back down I felt like a new woman.  My calves were pleased to be put on a bit of a rest and let the quads take the next part of the show.  The plan for down was to run where plausible and allow gravity to take me down the mountain.  Don’t fight it.  Less fight means less quad pain later.  I stuck with the other two women all the way down the A-frame part of the trail.  So helpful as it made time fly.  As long as that 3 miles felt going up, it felt so much quicker going down (which it was).  When we approached the A-frame aid station I knew greenery was around the bend.  And..more oxygen! Major win.    

They had traffic lights at the aid stations for where the end of the trash zone was to contain cups and miscellaneous trash

 

At this point my legs said “ok, time to rock ‘n roll.”  And I’m sure it wasn’t really rocking that fast but hey after that painful expedition up the A-frame anything felt speedy.  I lost my two friends I had made at A-frame at the aid station.  I started passing people which was a nice feeling. I began feeling fresher and a pep to the step.  Very odd but I went with it.  I made sure to continue to eat and drink at each aid station to keep that pep in the step.  I got a few rocks in my shoe but I knew if I stopped to empty my shoe I may have issues moving again.  So blisters be damned I kept forging ahead.  As I got to Barr Camp, I remembered there were a few down hills on the way up so of course you know what happens on the reverse.  I decided to walk the uphill to save my legs and give my poor beat up calves a break.  Time was not an issue and I knew I was well within the time allotment.    

Doesn't even begin to justify my experience...

 

For the last 4 miles I tagged along with another girl cruising down the trails.  It was nice to have someone dictate the trail which took the pressure off of me thinking about direction.  After 7 ½ hours on your feet, it becomes tricky.  Finally I see 3 miles to the finish and know the dream is about to become reality.  I look up to see clouds forming around the summit.  At that point, I was thinking “time to bid adieu to Pikes for now.”  I continued running passing an aid station playing “Chariots of Fire” and finally reached the trailhead which emptied onto a roadway.  Ouch.  Roads at mile 25 after all that trail running feels AWFUL.  At this point Leo (@ex_cyclist) rode up next to me!  What awesome timing.  We chatted for a couple of minutes before he took a quick picture.  At that point someone yelled to me “just a couple more turns to go.”     

half mile from the finish and pumped!

 

I will say at this point I moved my sunglasses up to my hat so all emotions would show.  I saw Andrea on the sidelines waiting for me.  I yelled something to the effect of “this was fantastic” with a beaming smile.  As I was about to round the final turn I hear from Brooklyn, NY here comes Bridges Runner!  Thoughts flooded my head.  Most of all, holy crap I didn’t just run a marathon.  I got to experience one of the most scenic marathons in the world.  Then thoughts of all that have supported me through the training and in general.  It’s amazing what thoughts flood the mind during special occasions.  Finally, I cross the make shift finish line where they tear a piece of my bib off for a gun time of 8:28:28.    

Pikes Peak

 

I wish words could do justice for the experience I had out there yesterday.  I’m not sure they can.  I’ve stated that this is my year of 30.  While I’ve experienced so many great events, I will say it’s also allowed me to meet some pretty cool people along the way.  I’ve been able to reflect a lot about life in general and what it is I want out of it. Life is about experiences.  This now may be one of the top experiences of my life so far.  It was worth every mile, every twisted ankle on the trails, and every thought of “can I really do this.”  I do believe if you want it, you will get it.  Dreams are great but getting after them is even better.  Believe in yourself.  It goes a long way to making reality.  I made one of them happen yesterday.    

It’s great to look back and know I did this for the right reason.  It reaffirmed my love for running and experiencing things that simply cannot be justified by words.  I guess you have to be there to really understand what I exactly felt yesterday.  Sure, I may have said this about other road races but this is different.  There truly is something to be said about experiencing a day on a mountain and the views that go along with it.  As my friend mentioned to me, we spent a workday on a mountain!  I proclaimed “well, I can’t think of a better working day.”  It’s true.  So thank you, Pikes.  You gave me a very special birthday present!    

And thank you for all of your support.  It truly has been a magical time. This was marathon #8.    

The stats of elevation: start 6300’ summit 14,115’ finish 6345’    

the mountain

And this is what a mountain looks like on a garmin

 

To come? A guest post and more pictures,,,,

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Well, I did it:.  I conquered Pikes Peak (Voldemort) yesterday in 8:28:28 (love the 8s).  Race report soon.  Thanks for all the support – truly one of those lifetime experiences I’ll never ever forget. 

I’ll collect my thoughts and put together a race report.  So much to tell.

ex_cyclist from twitter captured me a half mile from the finish. Do I look like someone that just ran up and down a mountain?

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Well, we’ve reached the time that there are no more tomorrows.  No more oh it’s next week.  No more one more run.  This is it.  Tomorrow I will be tackling the trails to head up to 14,110 feet before descending back down to a measly 6,300 feet .  I kid.  Although coming back down gaining oxygen will be a welcome addition:)  Tomorrow I tackle America’s Ultimate Challenge: Pikes Peak Marathon.

Today I was able to take the cog train up to the top of Pikes Peak and experience true altitude.  I didn’t feel sick more of a “slow” feeling.  It was definitely helpful to know what type of feeling I may feel at the summit.  I definitely noticed coming back down the cog train I was gaining oxygen.  So, I suppose that will be nice? 🙂

Overall, I’m excited.  I’m ready to conquer.  The work is done.  This is my celebration.  I feel honored to be able to tackle this race tomorrow.  Thanks to everyone for your support – you’ll be in my head as I go through the highs, lows and everything in between.  This is what it’s all about – experiencing and living life to its fullest.  This is a part of it for me.

So with that I’ll see you at the finish line.

pikes ascent finish

and i thought the nj stairs were intense,...these are the colorado version (not part of race). 41 degree incline at one point!

Here she is all 14,110 feet of her! Pikes Peak - what helped inspire the song America the Beautiful!

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One last weekend in my 20s.  I made the most of it which included 3 parties (made it to 2), summer streets, not to mention out on the town for 2 nights.  Yeah, this probably was not wise for a taper girl but hey, it was FUN.  And yes, paying the price for it…

Last week work was pretty tough and never have I felt so happy to see Friday come around.  Started the day with a bridges run with my AM crew plus @runamyrun.  She deserves a trooper award for trekking from Washington Heights downtown for her first bridges run.  Yep, she had never run over either bridge!  The run consisted of the usual 50+ minutes of non-stop chatter – love these runs.  One not so lovely part of the run? The Manhattan bridge was um, littered with human feces. Ew.  Fortunately we made it over to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, Promenade and Brooklyn Bridge to make up for that pretty nasty part of the run.  Have I mentioned how much I love these runs??

Friday evening was the beginning of the birthday bonanza celebrations.  Ironing.it.out and her b/f hosted a party in their crate and barrel catalog apartment.  A couple of cocktails , a few laughs, and photos later it was 3am!  Oops.  It was a well needed stress reliever after a brutal week. Check out how well the AM crew can clean up (wish we had taken a before pic!).  No, we didn’t plan the wear green party.

ES, me, AC, and MP

Saturday was summer streets.  Three Saturdays each summer in August the city shuts down a street from Brooklyn Bridge up to 72nd Street for cyclists, runners and anyone else that wants to wander.  You can rent bikes, skates, and even play tennis on a side street!  I figured I’d take the chance to enjoy a leisure run up Park Avenue with my camera.

Cyclists taking pictures from the bridge.

Dumpster pool near grand central...

Looking up at Grand Central - definitely the coolest part of the run!

Cyclists prepare to go at Union Square

Start of Summer Streets in Foley Square

Good times including a free picnic on 24th street.  I ended up stopping for that and scrapped the rest of the run.  I had to head to Paragon anyway to pick up some sport beans for Voldemort.

Sunday consisted of a bridges run to start the day – strictly that, no more.  Then it was time for a picnic to celebrate my birthday.  Sadly, mother nature didn’t cooperate as she did on Saturday.  It started to rain and had to move the festivities to my apartment.  The conversation flowed and it was here my voice started to fade away.  As one of my friends astutely put, “you sound like the dude on a 900 message.” Nice.  It was a nice little get together even though I didn’t get to show off the park.  Sometimes it doesn’t go as planned:)  Guess it’s a good excuse to have another picnic in September…

Today I woke up with NO voice. None.  Not congested just voiceless.  I stayed home from work to rest up.  Plan is to take today and tomorrow off – a last bridges run before taking off for Colorado Thursday morning!

I'm coming for you Voldemort!

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Taper me silly

Well kids, it’s time.  Time to get the nerves going and rest the body for the main event.  Less than 2 weeks until I face the next challenge in my year of 30.  We don’t need to get my nerves rattled any more now so I’m going to go into a topic most runners hate: the taper!

For many of us, we have different philosophies that we think make us better runners on race day.  Whether it’s giving up alcohol for the marathon training period (did that once and NEVER again), sweets, etc.  For me the taper comes down to a few very important ingredients: lots of rest, basic workouts to calm the nerves, food/hydration and fun.

1) Rest – this is important but oddly enough my past 2 marathons have been marked by ridiculously crazy work weeks the week before the marathon.  I also tend to get crazy insomnia.  I’m not sure if it’s from going 5000 miles an hour to a snail’s pace or what but I have major sleeping issues at times.  However, I make sure to get a really good sleep two nights before.  I remember my first NYCM I slept 2 hours the night before.  I was so unbelievably nervous.  Sleep has come easier with each passing marathon but I still get those little jitters the night before.  I guess for me it’s what keeps me going.  Why do it if you don’t see the excitement?  Beyond right before the marathon, I’m big on getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night for the 2 weeks leading to a race.

2) Workouts.  My dad says it best “you can always run too much but never too little during a taper.” So true.  For Marine Corps and Boston I ran 1x the week of the race.  Between craziness of work and trying to get my zzz’s, sometimes it just doesn’t happen.  You know what? It’s OK!  You’ve done the training.  Trust the training.  There is NOTHING you can do to benefit from lots of running those last days.  I’ve found getting a last tempoish run in a week and a half before won’t hurt but the week of absolutely not. Side note: Had my last ‘speed’ workout tonight

3) Food/hydration – this is a biggie.  Many of us “freak” over gaining a couple of pounds as the big day approaches.  It’s normal.  You’re storing.  That doesn’t mean go out and eat big steak dinners or cupcakes…but you’re eating balanced meals to start storing for race day.  For me, since I have a crazy sensitive stomach, I cut off things with a lot of fiber two days before the race.  Obviously you may have an iron stomach but mine goes insane at the drop of a pin.  Awful but I’ve learned to deal with it.  I carb up with pasta and ‘happy carbs’, the complex stuff.

Hydration wise I become obsessed.  The week of the race you will not find me sans a water bottle.  The day before? I better be near a bathroom .  I’ll mix Gatorade with water (hate the pure sugar stuff).  Whether or not it makes a full difference, up to you but it’s worked for me!

4) fun – This is the time to do things you couldn’t do while training!  Not that we don’t enjoy the training aspect but it’s a chance to enjoy the downtime.  Get your mind off of the task ahead.  For me, I’ve got 3 birthday parties this weekend (GO Leos!) as well as getting ready for a vacation with a little run in there;)

My thoughts on alcohol/coffee/etc:  I tried to cut alcohol from my diet in 2008 for Chicago.  Honestly, all it did was make me cranky.  I don’t drink enough to really make a difference but I’ll be honest: I like a good ice-cold beer or glass of wine.  I’m still unsure how I made it 3 months on the wagon.  NEVER again;)  That said I generally cut out alcohol a minimum of 4 days before but generally a week before.

With that time for me to hit the sack and make good on my taper-me-silly.

What do you do for a taper?  How do you prepare for a big race?

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Gonna fly now

This past weekend I hightailed it out of the city with Runnin’ Around Uptown to Philly for the weekend to visit a mutual friend, Nancy.  It was a great way to escape the city and of course spend it with good friends.  The weekend was full of hardy laughs (core workout?), food, running and just pure fun.  I’m sure I haven’t laughed that hard that many times in such a short amount of time:) Let’s just say there were some amazing one liners being thrown around…I’d share but um, no, not for you!

Looking out onto Boathouse row in Philly

Now as for the running.  With the accidental 14 on Monday, the weekly mileage had an opportunity to become a new PR.  I’d have to check but I believe it was 57 or 58 a couple of years ago training for Chicago with the Pfitz program.  Anyway, with another 9 miles on Thursday with my AM crew I was at 30 miles already!  I realized my first 60 mile week was within reach.  Friday I used as an easy core and shake out the legs day knowing I had a couple days of serious running in Philly coming up.  You see, Nancy is one of those freaks of nature in running that can just go out and run 20 miles at the drop of a hat. The plan called for one more 20 before Pikes this weekend so I had 3 weekends to “taper.” I hesitate with taper because I’ll still run a good amount this week (not a fan of the 3 week taper).  Conversation went like this:

AC: I’ll run with you guys for the first part, go back and make pancakes for when you guys get back.

Me: Awesome.

Nancy: Wait, what?  I haven’t run more than 8 miles since the last time I ran 20 with you in mid June.  Sounds good.

Hehe.  This girl can bang out miles with the best of ‘em (she’s run a 50 miler, 50k but more impressive is the fact she’ll run any distance for a good latte!).  Sure enough we rocked out around 12 with AC before she drove back and Nancy and I ran back.  The 12 was over in Fairmount Park with some good trails action.  I stayed on my feet and have to say I feel pretty strong on uneven terrain.  I mentioned to Nancy that I can feel the difference in my running on trails in just a few short months. Since she’s been a badass on the trails for years, she found that interesting.  Hope it translates in a few weeks.  Anyway there were some solid ups and downs.  Pace was maintained around 10-10:30 on the trails sections and 8:30s on the non trails.  Guess things are starting to pull together.  The way back brought us along the Kelly Drive part of the Philly Distance Run in September (I refuse to call it R n R).  Upon finishing, I felt really good – that confident feeling you get in marathon training.  It’s odd though because honestly I have no idea what to expect for this race.  It’ll be a completely different experience.  I suppose that’s what makes us do this stuff.  Experiences.

Oh and if you were wondering, the pancakes were fantastic.  Blueberry deliciousness. AC, you can make pancakes again! 😉

Sunday was a “recovery” run which meant Nancy ran us around the city in what felt like circles;)  It actually was a lovely run around the city covering many aspects of the marathon and/or Philly Distance run route.  We chit chatted our way through the run before ending in a little rain shower.  And with that, I wrapped up a 60 mile week.

From here?  I’m looking to heal up little nagging pains/tightness.  My right hip has been a bit cranky lately.  When I wake up, it is unbelievably tight.  It’s not sore, there’s no pain down the side of the leg or anything to be concerned about a different injury. Nothing to be alarmed about but something to take care of now before it becomes something of concern.  So me, ice, and advil have been friends.  Oh and stretching – but not during the day.  Running wise I’ll drop my long run to 12-14 this weekend with the 5 mile race on Saturday.  This is not my goal race so I’m going to play it by ear.  I’d love to see what I can do but my eye is on the prize – and that is August 22nd, not August 7th.

awww kitty

I also managed 202 miles running!! Record mileage by a lot.  311 miles swim/bike/run.  Whew.

Other than that, can you believe it’s August already?  Summer seems to fly!! 20 days til game time!

Coming for you Nov 7th by foot!

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Road trip

This weekend was a little getaway from the big apple brought to you by yet another one of my friends biting the dust….err getting married.  Since Saturday was a travel day out to Ithaca, New York it turned into a Thursday/Friday long run bonanza.  Apparently my commitment to this race is pretty real as I awoke at the ungodly hour of 4:45am to meet MP up at Central Park for a 10-12 miler after a festive night drinking (read: 5 beers is a lot on low tolerance!).  Commitment people!  After a nice and chill 10 with MP on the bridle path, I felt sort of ready to face the day.

Friday I didn’t wake up early to get my long run in (which this week I was taking down a notch – read: 14ish).  This was a HUGE mistake as it was cool and misty in the morning but by the afternoon it was a roasting apple again.  I prolonged the agony until around 6pm hoping that mother nature would dump rain mid run to cool me down.  I started out and felt miserable.  My head wasn’t in the game and my right hip felt “stiff.”  I shuffled through 11 miles – hot doesn’t even begin to justify this run.  I looked like I had gone in the east river with the puddles I was providing on the way home.  Yum.  Naturally within a half hour of finishing a cool breeze shifted through as a storm prepared to arrive.  Summer storms are so satisfying and relaxing to watch – from the confines of under cover.  It’s also enjoyable to watch people try to run through the manic downpours.  We’ve all been there…

Pouring buckets!

Saturday was a travel day which provided a much-needed rest day.  Sunday was an easy, flat as a pancake 6.  Feels odd to run that flat now, especially since I was in a great spot to get my hills on!  The wedding itself was pretty good, including the first one that provided a fireworks show!  The fireworks show with a full moon.  Seriously.

what's wrong with this picture?

Monday morning I joined another gal at the wedding for a run around the area.  She knew the area and since I was up for some hillacious running after feeding myself silly at the wedding I figured 6 hilly miles would do me good.  Needless to say famous last words.  I went out without any food.  What was going to be a 6-7 miler turned into a 14 mile hilly Ithaca run.  The scenery provided an easy way to just run and enjoy running.  Folks, this is what it’s about.  Sure we race but to me getting to go out on your feet and tour a beautiful area makes up for it and then some.  We ran through the Cornell campus, up and down hills, by waterfalls chatting away until we realized it was time to get back to get ready for brunch.  Quite awesome.  I also must say I’m pretty impressed I can go out and run 14…ask me that a few months ago and I would have thought you were nuts!  Oh how things change…

the views were pretty nice...

Ithaca is gorges...or waterfall!

Yesterday was speed time.  Oof tired legs.  I sported my argyle compression socks under my pants all day to try and give my legs the added recovery.   Speed work was lightly attended but I made the most of one on one time.  It really has helped me concentrate on form and think about simple things while running (Thinks @SpeedySasquatch!  You rock!).  The agenda today was intervals on the bridle path 1 min easy x 4 min hard 8x.  Sounds not so bad on paper but considering it’s worked so the last interval is uphill it has your legs crying for the finish line by the end.  Really good stuff – a good mental workout too.  I concentrated a lot on keeping my arms straight and pump them up the hills.  Works wonders!  Form is so crucial especially to get an extra few seconds off of a time goal.  Another 7ish miles last night.  Forgot my watch so I have no clue on time.

Shooting for 50+ this week.

Overall it’s down to 25 days til showtime.  Things are going well and while I’ve started the “can I do really do this” thoughts they’ve been overcome with “heck yeah, it will be such an amazing experience.”

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One month to go!

Holy smokes, kids!  Thursday will mark exactly ONE month until the race-that-shall-not-be-named – ok I name it Voldemort!  But yes, the plane tickets are booked, arrangements to wander around the great state of Colorado post-race and oh yeah – the training continues on!

This past week got back to the root of it all: running.  Now that it’s so close, I really need to focus on getting in quality workouts as much as possible. Last week marked the end of my swim classes:(  I guess it was a good class if I’m sad that it’s ending – I definitely was not excited to jump in the pool at the beginning of this class.  So yeah, thumbs up to Jack Rabbit swim classes!

I added in a speedwork night, treadmill incline workout and two long runs to the menu.  My goal is to get two treadmill incline runs a week now at a minimum to continue to get the feel of an 8-11 incline.  Yes, you read that correctly.  It’s funny – after running on that incline when you go to a flat it feels really weird!  I topped out at 42 miles last week with 2 rest days – one due to pure exhaustion and the other I was just too damn busy with life.

As I start thinking about what I’ll experience in a month, I think about how unbelievably awesome it will be.  Life is about making memories.  This will be one hell of a memory to have and look back on.  More on this later.

Other than my training, I was a spectator at the NYC tri yesterday where my good friend, runnin’ around uptown KILLED it.  It was her first olympic tri and she managed to break her 10k pr by 2 minutes. What?!  Must have been the awesome fan support or her ability to focus;)  I had a great time cheering (major kudos to all that competed yesterday!) but man did it make me want to be out there.  For now, I need to focus on the coming weeks as I have a pretty action packed summer/fall ahead.  My next race – and last as a member of the 20-29 age group will be the NYRR Team Championships in August.

Mike Woods - Fox 5 NY weatherman

Mike Woods - Fox 5 NY weatherman

the women's winner - good sense of color in yellow;)

the women's winner - good sense of color in yellow;)

Here have a bike tire tube!

The race winner!

Have a great week all!  Stay cool and enjoy the warmth – I know I do NOT miss February AT ALL.

Sunset from the promenade!

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131 miles

This week brought about monster mileage week #1 in the buildup to August 22.  As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, my body doesn’t do well with super high mileage running.  As such, instead of all running, I weaved in some cycling which definitely helps work the quads, hamstrings and calves…all essential for my adventure.  Some may not stand by the cross training, but I do.  I feel it keeps me on my toes, keeps me fresh, and most important, keeps it fun.  Ultimately, that’s my goal out there.  If you would have told me I would bike/run 131 miles in a week I would give you a crazy eye.  Well, guess I can give you the crazy eye because that’s exactly what happened.

Monday started out with my first bike ride to Nyack coming off of back to back long runs.  Definitely tough to do on tired legs but as I’ve mentioned, I’m working on that ingredient – getting used to what it feels like to be working off of a tired set of legs.  I know that is something I’ll run into out in Colorado.

Tuesday, since it was 103 degrees outside, I opted for the treadmill to get a quality workout.  Since it’s tough to find consistent hills in NYC, it gave a good opportunity to play with the inclines on the tready.  It made for a solid sweaty 4.5 mile workout.

Wednesday was an easy day.  Just a commute to and from work via the bike.  However, I always forget how obnoxious buildings get about bikes.  Our work hours have transferred to summer hours.  Meaning no matter what I’m here longer than the freight is open.  This meant a bit of a confrontation to start the day at 7:15am.  Not fun.  No, I’m not leaving my bike isolated on an NYC street hoping no one steals it!  Real reason I rode? I was afraid of the power problems in the city even though ConEd assured us they were “on it.” Ha.  Maybe they’re on it making sure your energy bill will be sky-high after this month…

Thursday!  Back to VCP for the cross-country races.  This time there was a twist.  Instead of a typical race, this race was a relay!  I teamed up with Runnin’ Around Uptown to form Team “Heights to Heights.”  I’m sure you can figure it out if you think hard enough.  If not.  Think harder.  Anyway, once we got our bibs we saw it said F56?!  At which point we went down to say hello to Ari and Joe which made us feel better, M90.  Hehe.  The route was different from the other races as we tackled Cemetery Hill.  I didn’t wear a watch so I have no idea what time I ran it in all I know is I love these races – you just run hard.  It burns, but feels so good at the same time.  Anyway, I chatted with Ari waiting for our teammates to come in.  Runnin’ Around Uptown came in and it turns out we took 1st place in our age division. The prize? Muffins!  Best award ever!

Friday morning it was back to it as I met up with All That Matters is what makes you happy and ironing.it.out for my pre-work long run #1 of the weekend.  We met up for a bridges route before I continued on with MP to work.  All in all, a solid 12.5 miles before work.  Not bad.

Saturday brought long run #2 which would be done completely on my own.  Not only that, I was tackling the Palisades which makes it extra tough.  Add to it oppressive humidity and it makes for a very challenging run.  However, as I’ve stated time and time again, I’ll take this over 14 degrees ANY DAY.  I did my 8 mile route x 2 which gave me the cliff stairs twice.  I enjoyed it but it’s definitely tough to be out there alone – I’m a people person when it comes to running generally.  But what must be done, will get done.  16.7 miles total.

Sunday brought along Nyack ride #2 of the week.  This time there were about 10 of us riding out to Nyack.  It was a great crew and made for an enjoyable way to spend my Sunday morning.  It always reminds me why I do all these athletic endeavors – to spend time with quality people!  My legs were definitely feeling the miles on the way back which is pretty much all UP hill.  I just kept thinking: “this is only going to make you stronger – can’t get up a mountain being weak.”  With that ride, 131 miles in the bank – all without pounding my legs but still getting them active.

Amy, Samantha and I at Runcible Spoon for snack before riding back

Tonight brought an end to two weeks of craziness with speedwork, 4 x 1 mile.  Very consistent splits, nothing outrageous and everything well within control.  Miles ranged from 7:10-7:20 and felt pretty good.

To give you an idea here’s a graph since June 30th…

I leave you with a picture of Manhattanhenge.  For people like me, it’s super cool to have such symmetry.

Have a great Wednesday all!  I’m looking forward to R&R!

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