A Girl Runs in Brooklyn

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step

Great run OUTSIDE today!

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I look a little goofy but the sun was in my eyes and I couldn’t actually see my phone. I haven’t seen the sun in weeks so I am a little unfamiliar with what it looks like. FINALLY got outside for a run today after doing ALL of my runs since February 9th on the treadmill! I have off work this week (I work at a school full-time and schools in NYC are off this week for February Break) so I got to sleep in, go to yoga at 10:15, and then run at noon, after it had warmed up to 40 degrees and most of the black ice that I had heard was making my favorite running path treacherous earlier in the morning had melted away. It was BEAUTIFUL out! I am finally feeling like myself again running. I have basically dropped the walk breaks (though I took a few today through really slushy/icy areas on the path but nothing significant) and am finally back to averaging about a 12:00 minute mile “easy” pace. My easy pace before injury was between 11:00 and 12:00, but since I came back to running I’ve been running between 13:00 and 14:00 including the walk breaks. Today’s run felt GREAT!!!

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Sometimes the Worst Runs are the Most Important

Most of the time I love running. But PRs aren’t born the days when it’s easy. Not the days when the temperature is perfect on a sunny Saturday afternoon in the park. It’s the days when you bundle up and run in the freezing cold. Wake up before sunrise. Endure the “dreadmill” when outside isn’t an option. And nights like this. When I worked for 12.5 hours and just want to go home, watch some Olympics, and sleep. When it takes every ounce of willpower to not get onto the highway and drive home after my last client, but drive down to Brighton Beach and go use the treadmill at the JCC where my pool is because it is closer to work than my gym and I know if I get all the way near my apartment I will lose all motivation to go to the gym. And then realizing I can’t watch NBC Olympic Primetime on the TM because the JCC only has Russian TV and I have to watch Olympic coverage in RUSSIAN, highlighting only Russian athletes. And my iPod is dead because it was accidentally playing all day in my bag. But staying on the treadmill til I’m kicked out for the place closing anyway. These runs. These are the worst, but most important.

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Race Recap: NYRR Gridiron Classic 4M 2/2/14

Date: Sunday 2/2/14 (Super Bowl Sunday)

Race: NYRR Gridiron Classic 4 Miler

Location: Central Park, Manhattan

Weather: Sunny and 43 degrees….perfect running weather for me!

NYRR 9+1 Status: Race 1 of 9

Background:

This was my first race of 2014 and my first NYRR race of 9 that I need to complete in 2014 in order to qualify for guaranteed entry into the 2015 NYC Marathon (plus volunteer at a race, which is what the “+1” means).  This was not going to be a “race” for me, as in I was not running it for any sort of time goal or to beat my PR (personal record/best race time at that distance) as I am still just coming off an injury, so I treated it as a “fun run.” I have only been back to running for 2 weeks after having to take 6 weeks off, and have been running fairly low mileage (8.3 miles the first week and 10.1 miles last week, culminating in this race as I measure my weekly mileage Monday to Sunday), so trying to run fast would have been unwise.  This race would also be my longest distance run since coming back from injury, and only my 2nd time running outdoors since then too (I have also been running mostly on the treadmill which I haaaate but it has been for the best since we have been having a very snowy and icy winter which makes running outside not ideal under any circumstance but especially having just been injured). So I knew that I needed to have the willpower to keep it slow and easy.

Pre-Race:

The race began at 9:00am. I like to get to races early, especially if I have to pick up my race materials (bib, shirt) and check a bag, porta-potty lines are often long, and this race in particular they had a football throwing contest beginning at 8:00am. Also, I was trying to meet up with a couple ladies before the race. So I had every intention of getting there in the vicinity of 8:00am. Central Park is about an hour to an hour and 10 minutes from my apartment in Brooklyn on the subway. So my alarms started ringing at 5:40am. Yes, I said alarms. As in multiple. I am not the type of person who can jump right up when I hear an alarm so I usually need to set about 5, starting about 20-30 minutes before I ACTUALLY want to get up. Actually got out of bed around 6:10.

I had my traditional pre-race breakfast of toast with peanut butter and banana, cup of coffee and water. Despite the fact that we had been having an extremely cold and snowy winter, and had a snow storm on the way the next day, it was forecast to be sunny and 43 degrees :):):) That means Sparkle Skirt without tights underneath, knee high compression socks (or calf sleeves, today I decided for compression socks for increased ankle support), thin long sleeved tech material shirt and short sleeved shirt over. That is standard race attire for temperatures of high 30s-mid 40s. The race was football themed and participants were encouraged to wear attire representing their favorite football team. So, OBVIOUSLY, I was representing the Giants:

Decided on my new Asics Kayano 20s because they are the most supportive shoe I own. Put on my race clothes, sweats and a sweatshirt over, and off I went, leaving my apartment around 7:00, set to get to the race site by 8:00-8:10. I really should have left a few minutes earlier, but I didn’t get myself out the door exactly when I wanted. And as a result I was coming down the subway stairs the train was already there….ack! So I participated in my first race of the day: The Race for the Train. Annnnd I lost :(. Total bummer because that early on Sunday mornings the R train only comes once every 20 minutes. Womp womp. So, getting there at 8:00-8:10 quickly became 8:30-8:40. Yikes!

Got off the subway at 8:32, and had to walk very briskly/kind of jog the approximate half mile from the subway to where the packet pickup was. Ok, well don’t need to do a warmup I guess. Got my bib, pinned it on, got the clear bag we need to use for bag check, got my race T-shirt, shoved my sweatshirt, sweat pants and T-shirt into the plastic bag and jogged over to bag check. Time: 8:45. Was able to meet up with 2 of the girls I was hoping to see before the race at the bag check entrance and snapped a quick photo:

Then we split up and power walked to our corrals. Didn’t even get to visit the porta potty…..oh nooo!  I barely made it to my purple corral (for slow people) by the time the race started at 9:00. But that is ok, because my corral is last, and it takes over 10 minutes to cross the starting line from my corral.

Pre-Race photo:

 

The Race:

Not too much to say about the race itself. I enjoy running in Central Park very much, but since it is far from my apartment I generally cannot justify going all the way there to run on my own, so I like to do races there. My race strategy was to take it easy and go slow. Which in a race atmosphere is sometimes hard to do. But I concentrated on running nice and easy, and doing walk intervals. I decided I really need to drop these walk intervals ASAP. I know LOTS of runners who always do walk intervals, and I do not look down on that in any way, shape or form. There is a method of run/walk called the Galloway method, and plenty of people complete marathons even using it. And plenty of the Galloway followers maintain a faster average pace of run/walk intervals than I do running the whole time. But run/walk intervals I am discovering are not for me. I just like to run! I have been doing the walk intervals while coming back from injury but they just feel unnatural for me….too much to think about, too much to pay attention to, too much relying on my watch…. Generally in races I will walk water stations to have a drink without choking, take a GU on a longer race, and have a quick break; or I will take a walk break if I need it, but I have decided I do not like the frequent walk breaks. But since I have been doing them during all my runs the past 2 weeks, I stuck to them for the race.

It was a beautiful day to be out and running in the park. I enjoyed all the football apparel out on the course. I did run into the Boathouse bathroom during the first mile since I had failed to use the porta-potty and it was not out of the way. Probably lost a minute in the first mile, but since I was not running the race for time I didn’t care too much. I enjoyed being out there running, and very happy to be taking part in the event.

Splits:

Mile 1: 13:54

Mile 2: 12:07

Mile 3: 12:53

Mile 4: 12:35

+ .11 mile extra measured by my Garmin: 1:21

Garmin time: 52:49

Official chip time: 52:47

This was a “PW” or “personal worst” for me but it was supposed to be! The important things are that I had fun and finished the race, uninjured!

 

Post-Race (with my water and bagel):

 

Course Photographer Photos:

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Swag:

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Never super impressed with NYRR’s shirts. Generally cotton, and not even nice cotton—very thin, kinda scratchy cotton. Usually a solid color (and not a fun one- the ones I have are all white, navy, or forest green) with a small race logo on the chest, and either long or short sleeves. They run really big because they are unisex sizes, and they often run out of smalls. Meh.

Thanks for reading!

 

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The Story So Far: A Combined Race Recap of my 26 Races to Date

So….finally…..tomorrow is my first race day in 2014!!! I was supposed to have a half marathon last weekend that I had to “DNS” (Did Not Start) due to JUST getting back to running after my foot injury, but that is water under the bridge now. My race tomorrow (a 4 miler) will be for fun….certainly won’t be a PR (personal record/best recorded time in a race at that distance) as I am easing back into running very slowly both with pace and distance, but I am looking forward to it. I figured that since after my race tomorrow I will get to write my first real Race Recap for this blog (yay!), it got me thinking that I owe you guys a lot of Race Recaps from all my races before I began this blog a few weeks ago. It may help put all future races recapped on here into perspective. So….without further ado, here is a “quick and dirty” recap of ALL the races I have run so far, in 2012 and 2013. There are 26 completed races (plus 3 DNSes and 1 DNF). Enjoy!

How It All Began

My first race was the Baltimore Running Festival 5K on October 13, 2012. Before my friend convinced me to register, which I did in June or July of 2012, I had done a little bit of walk/jogging in the park before…generally on nice spring or fall days when it was too beautiful to be cooped up in the gym (I had been a fan of the elliptical since college, as well as classes such as cardio-kickboxing, Zumba and yoga). I never ran more than two times a week, and would go through spurts where I would do it 1-2 times a week for maybe 3-4 weeks in a row and then not go for another run for months (generally all of winter and summer). I had wanted to get more into running, and my friend from college, who liked to run and race, suggested I sign up for a race. She lives in Baltimore, and had signed up for the Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon as her first half and encouraged me to sign up for the 5K. I did, as a motivation to get out there and get running. I didn’t really follow a plan, I just tried to get out there at least 3 days a week. I tried to run as long as possible before taking a walk break, and tried to slowly increase my distance.

I was a total noob. I didn’t wear a watch or time any of my runs, and didn’t have any means of tracking my distance while I was running (did not even carry my phone). I would measure out routes on mapmyrun.com on the computer, sometimes before I’d head out I’d plan a route, but usually I would just run and then come home and recreate my route on the website to see how far I went (usually between 1.5 and 3 miles). I had absolutely no concept of my pace, since I never timed anything and rarely even knew how far I was going. I had no log of any form, I have no idea how many miles I ran during this training cycle. (And maybe those were the “good old days” when I could not care less about minutes per mile, miles per week, ect.) I started my training for the race in sneakers I had bought at a Target for $11 in college, probably my sophomore year (and I had been out of college for over 4 years). I figured I would run in those instead of my “good gym shoes” which were Reebok something or other I had also gotten crazy on sale somewhere 2 years or so before, because “I was only wearing them for running outside, so they’re going to get dirty anyway.”  (A year and a half later I have 4 pairs of shoes just for running, the most expensive being $160…..oh how times have changed!) Good thing my friend Janis convinced me to get a professional shoe fitting a few weeks before race day. When I began I also wore cotton tank tops and cotton sports bras, cotton gym shorts, cotton socks, I had never heard of tech material/dry fit/sweat wicking anything. As I got closer to the race, I began taking more and more of Janis’s advice and began to buy some clothes “just for running.” By the time I toed the starting line, I “almost” felt like a runner.

Baltimore Running Festival 5K- 10/13/12- 37:07

I trained consistently and finishing that 5K was the proudest moment I had experienced. Running past Camden Yards, the roar of the crowd….oh man I loved every second. It was magical…..and I was hooked.

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Morris Township Turkey Trot 5K- 11/22/12- 33:33

After I finished my first I kept training, and actually started following a training plan. I set my sights on a second 5K a little over a month later, and a 10K 2 months later. I began following the Hal Higdon Novice 10K plan. I got myself Nike+ so I knew my distance and pace. My 2nd 5K was a huge PR.

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NYC Runs Hot Chocolate 10K- 12/16/12- 1:07:46

I kept following the plan and completed my first 10K. I did better than I thought I could do and had fun on my first trip out to Roosevelt Island (little Island in the East River between Manhattan and Queens).

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It was about a week or so after this race that I began having an awful pain on the outside of my left knee. It turned out to be Illio-Tibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). I could not run for more than a mile without pain, and it hurt walking up and down the stairs. I would take a few days off until it didn’t hurt on the stairs anymore, try to run again, and not get very far before the pain kicked in again. Finally I decided to take a full month off running. I did not run in January (and sadly had to DNS the next 10K I was registered for), instead I went to physical therapy, spent a lot of time on running forums learning about ITBS, foam rolled like crazy, worked on strengthening my hips, discovered the magic of a deep tissue massage, cross trained a lot on the elliptical, discovered spin class, and when I started running again I felt better than ever, and ready to finally use the Garmin FR 10 I had gotten for Christmas!

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NYC Runs Brooklyn Hot Chocolate 10K- 1/26/13- DNS

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NYRR Al Gordon 4M- 2/23/13- 47:39

My next race I kind of stumbled upon the night before the race, when I was on the NYRR website. I planned to run in Prospect Park one Saturday in late February for 3 miles, and found out there was a 4 mile race in that park. I decided on a whim to register, and run it as a training run. Since I only planned for 3, I walk/jogged the first mile and then ran the rest.

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NYRR Coogan’s Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K- 3/3/13- 32:30

Next up was another 5K. I had been running pain free for a month and was anxious to see if I could PR. I somehow was faster when I started running again after the month off for ITBS, so I wanted to see what I was capable of. The race was VERY hilly, and I pushed the pace a bit but held back a little on the hills out of fear of aggravating the IT band. I still PRed :).

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Eileen C. Dugan Memorial 5K- 4/6/13- 28:31

I ran another 5K about a month later, and with another month of largely pain-free training under my belt and a flat course I was ready to give everything I had and attempt my first sub-30 5K. The results actually shocked me, I blew sub-30 out of the water! The course was beautiful, running under the Brooklyn Bridge and along the East River on the Brooklyn side in Brooklyn Bridge Park with great views of lower Manhattan. I rocked that race and enjoyed every second!

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NYRR Colon Cancer Challenge 4M- 4/7/13- 44:46

I ran a 4M in Central Park the next day. I actually had it scheduled before the 5K, but when I found out about the 5K in Brooklyn Bridge Park and couldn’t resist it. So I turned the 4M into more of a “fun run.”  I still PRed the 4M distance for what it’s worth (my first 4M was also a “fun run” though).

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America’s Vet Dog 5K- 4/21/13- 32:23

Next up was a 5K at the end of the month. I had a blast, because it was a fundraiser in Annapolis, MD for America’s Vet Dogs, an organization that provides service dogs and therapy dogs for disabled veterans returning from war. I started out at an OK pace, but crashed and burned a little bit and had some IT band pain during the race. I still had a blast though, and my boyfriend and his dog did the 5K dog walk that started after the 5K race. I also did this as a virtual run in remembrance of the victims of the recent Boston Marathon bombing, so I wore Boston Marathon colors (blue and yellow) and my virtual race bib on my back.

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NYC Runs CAMBA HealthyWay 5K- 5/5/13- 28:16

Next up, I PRed a 5K 2 weeks later :) and, actually, this race still remains my current 5K PR. And it was in one of my favorite places to run, Prospect Park, and benefited a local women’s shelter.

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Capitol Hill Classic 10K- 5/19/13- 1:05:02

After running 2 5Ks under 30 minutes, I was incredibly hopeful that I could run a sub-60 minute 10K at my next 10K. I had finally worked back up to the 10K distance (more slowly this time) after my month off for the ITBS, and was very confident I could meet this goal. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. I ran the Capitol Hill Classic 10K on the streets of DC, and the first 5K went amazingly. I was right on pace for sub 60- hitting the 5K mark in 29 minutes and change with gas in the tank to push the pace more in the second half. Unfortunately, before I hit the 4 mile marker my IT band completely locked up. I stopped twice to stretch, and could barely manage a gimpy jog. I finished the race, but in tears, and crushed with my finish time. Even though it was a PR, it was probably the most disappointing PR ever.

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Get Your Rear in Gear 4M- 6/9/13- 45:47

I took the next week off running, foam rolled a lot, did the elliptical, rededicated myself to hip strengthening exercises and ran cautiously. I ran a 4M 2 weeks later in Prospect Park, but again did it as a “fun run.”

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Baltimore 10 Miler (aka the B10)- 6/15/13- 1:57:23

I had registered Baltimore 10 Miler in all the way back in December. Unfortunately due to that pesky IT Band, training did NOT go as planned. The longest run I managed before the race due to my IT band issues was 7 miles. So I ended up running this race really easy, and taking walk breaks. I was thrilled that I was able to complete the 10 miles though, my longest distance ever, and I was even able to pick up the pace in the last 5K, even on a huge hill in the 9th mile!

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NY Giants Run of Champions 5K- 6/23/13- 32:19

Next up was the NY Giants Run of Champions 5K. This race was extremely special to me. My dad and I are HUGE Giants fans. When I found out there was going to be a race that ran around MetLife Stadium and ran across the Giants field and finished in the endzone, I knew we had to do it. My dad started training just for this race! The plan was to run together. We started together, but he unfortunately pulled a calf muscle during the race. He urged me to go ahead, and I did. I regretted it though, I wish we could have finished together. We still had a great time though. We got the “VIP package” which came with breakfast with Giants alumni players and a locker room tour. :):)

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NYC Runs Firecracker 10K- 7/4/13- 1:05:16

Next up was another crack at a sub-60 minute 10K. Unfortunately I chose the 4th of July to do so, and it was hot and crazy humid. I started out at a decent pace, but halfway through the heat and humidity really overwhelmed me and I couldn’t hold a pace. I crashed and burned in a major way. I didn’t even PR :(. But my parents and their puppy came to that one and braved the heat to watch me race (yes they were sweating just WATCHING if that is any indication of how rough it was running lol) and it is always extra special when they come see me, so I had a great time.

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MLB All-Star 5K- 7/13/13- 32:27

Next up was another chance to run with my dad. We are also huge Mets fans, and Citifield hosted the All-Star game in July. MLB always has a 5K in the city where the All-Star game is, so when I found out about the race, my dad was all in and wanted another crack at a 5K after his time suffered due to the calf strain during his first 5K. He did much better during this one :). I ran it as a fun run.

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NYC Runs Shore Road Summer Classic Mini-Series 10K- 7/14/13- 1:04:45

I ran a 10K the day after the MLB 5K. The starting line was 5 blocks from my apartment, how could I not?! I did not attempt a sub-60 again, but I did want to PR since I knew my PR was soft by probably close to a minute per mile, so I figured if I didn’t crash and burn I could at least beat my 1:05:02. I gave it a little extra gas without going all-out and did manage to PR.

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Washington Crossing15K- 8/17/13- 1:34:25

Next up, my first 15K. This was an evening race on a lovely flat course between the Delaware River and a canal, on the Pennsylvania side of the river, on a crushed stone/dirt trail. I ran a really strong race and was very happy with my time. And….the first medal I received!

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NYC Runs Labor Day 10K- 9/2/13- DNF

My next 10K, already recapped as a part of this blog entry, was a DNF due to a fire on the course, but I ran for and MET my buddy Judy who I was paired with through www.whoirun4.com, so it was amazing anyway!

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NYRR and Autism Speaks 4 Miles of Hope- 9/7/13- 41:43

Next up was a race that had a lot of meaning for me: the Autism Speaks race in Central Park. I decided to join Team Up! For Autism Speaks and fundraise for them for this race. I work with children with Autsim, so this was a special cause near and dear to my heart. I had never “raced” a 4 miler yet, and while the half marathon plan I was following for my first half in October didn’t want me racing anything at “race effort” during that time frame, I knew my 4M PR was soft and I at least wanted to PR. So I gave it a little more than easy effort and managed a PR for a great cause!

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Oktoberfest 10K- 9/28/13- 1:08:13

My dad wanted me to find us a fun fall 10K because he wanted to take a stab at the 10K distance. The one thing we love as much as the Giants and Mets is all things Oktoberfest (as we went to Oktoberfest in Munich together in 2009), and when I found out about the Oktoberfest 10K I knew it was the one. Oktoberfest themed costumes were encouraged and we gladly obliged. Afterwards was an Oktoberfest celebration! Unfortunately my dad pulled a calf again during the race, but he finished!

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Long Island DIVA 5K- 10/6/13- 30:59

Next up was another 5K. It was a week before my first half marathon, and my plan called for me to race it at 90% effort as a time trial to get a feel for what pace to go out at for my half. It predicted I would actually PR by about 30 seconds. I was excited for this race, as it occurred during my 28th birthday week, and was all about super girliness, which made me think of my buddy Judy. I was excited to potentially PR as well since I had not given race effort in a 5K since early May. Well the universe had other plans for me that day, as it often does, because I woke up with an awful head cold. I almost didn’t even go. But somehow I dragged myself out of bed and drove to Long Island. I was completely congested, running a low grade fever, and coughing. NOT PR conditions. But I ran a decent race, and placed 150th out of 1,200 runners which I was reallllly proud of! Also, I gave all my “race swag” to Judy, because I thought she would appreciate it more than me, and look better in it that I did….and her birthday was the next week! :)

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Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon- 10/12/13- 2:21:47

My first half marathon! I had followed a Running Wizard customized training plan, and felt decently prepared with two 11 mile runs, three 10 mile runs, three 9 mile runs and a 15K race under my belt. The course was hilly though, and I had been sick the whole week before the race and was still a bit congested for the race (hello snot rockets). The hills were relentless. However, the energy of the race was unbelievable. I held a fairly steady pace with a few kind of rough miles (mile 9 was my slowest) and was so amazingly proud of myself when I crossed that finish line! :)

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Marine Corps Marathon 10K- 10/27/13- 1:00:13

Next up, I had two 10Ks on the schedule, followed by two 5Ks and a half marathon. After finishing my first half, I wanted to conquer my unfinished business with the 10K (wanted my sub-60!!!), as well as a 5K PR since my 28:16 from May was still standing. And then I wanted another crack at a HM. First up was the Marine Corps Marathon 10K. This race ended up being a bit of a disaster. Stood in line for TWO HOURS to pickup my packet the day before, stood in line for an HOUR for the porta potty before the race and started over 10 minutes late (it was chipped timed and there were a ton of runners still in line for the porta potties so it wasn’t a huge deal but STILL!), the race course was so congested I came to a dead stop multiple times on the course because of bottlenecking, and to top it off, as I was about to cross the finish line the lead handcycles were about to finish, so the chase car forced all the runners about to cross the finish line WAY to the left hand side, causing congestion and we had to WAIT IN LINE to cross the finish. NEEDLESS TO SAY, I still had a huge PR and WOULD HAVE had my sub-60 since I was standing AT the finish line when my Garmin hit 60 minutes, but my time was actually 1:00:13. Grr. :(

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CityTri Prospect Park Fall Duathalon and Run 10K- 11/10/13- 1:04:05

Next up was a 10K in Prospect Park that was run simultaneously with 4 different duathalon distances and a 5K running race. Well all the races were too much for this race organization that specializes in Triathalons, so they couldn’t make a separate starting line and finish line, so the race needed to be a full loop of Prospect Park (3.35 miles for the 5K) and a double full loop for the 10K (6.7 miles). So even though the race was to be a half mile longer than the 10K distance, they still called it a 10K. For what it’s worth, I looked at my Garmin at 6.2 miles and it said 59 minutes and change so I would have done it if it was a real 10K. Even though I missed my goal, I placed 3rd in my age group out of 14 (even though they didn’t give AG awards), and  14th female out of 48 :). But I never did get my sub-60 minute 10K :(.

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Morris Township Turkey Trot 5K- 11/28/12- 29:27

Next up were the 5Ks. I was doing the Morris Township Turkey Trot again, and then a few days later was doing a race for my Aunt and Uncle. I decided that the Turkey Trot would be my PR attempt since I was familiar with the course. Well it was very cold (wind chill of 16 degrees, in November so I wasn’t used to cold weather running for the season yet) and it was just so hard to breathe while trying to run fast, the cold air burned my lungs. A PR was not to be that day. But it WAS a course PR by almost 4 minutes so… I will take what I can get.

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Keep Calm and Fight 5K- 11/30/13- 29:03

My uncle is a cancer survivor, and he and my aunt are very active in their chapter of American Cancer Society. Their chapter was sponsoring a 5K the weekend after Thanksgiving. Disappointed I missed my PR on Thanksgiving, I gave it another go. But on tired legs and another day with wind chills in the teens, it was again not meant to be, though I did run faster than I had on Thanksgiving just 2 days earlier.

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NYC Runs Frozen Bonsai Half Marathon- 12/8/13- 2:32:13

And last, the Frozen Bonsai HM, the race right before my foot started to hurt and caused me to take 6 weeks off running (obviously I got injured during the race and never felt it), which I already briefly recapped here.

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And then of course I was injured and barely able to walk for several weeks so:

NYC Runs Hot Chocolate 5K- 12/16/13- DNS

NYRR Fred Lebow Manhattan Half Marathon- 1/26/13- DNS

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And that’s all folks! That was my race years 2012 and 2013, all my races so far!! Thanks for reading :)

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Look what came in the mail today!

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My new “running wall!”

My parents came to visit me at my apartment in Brooklyn today (they live about 45 minutes to an hour away in NJ). They came to hang out, and for my dad to make me a “running brag wall.”

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On the far left is what started the initial thought that I should dedicate some wall space to running related things. My dad had given me for my birthday in October a framed picture of NYC marathoners crossing the Verrazano Bridge (which is right by my apartment, and I run UNDER it almost every day because the jogging path I do most of my training runs on goes underneath it, and it is my dream to one day run OVER it to begin the NYC Marathon…..2015 I am hoping!!) that has a quote I love on it: “Believe in yourself. You must do that which you think you cannot.” -Eleanor Roosevelt.

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I had never gotten around to hanging it up/finding a place to hang it. Then for Christmas my dad gave me 3 framed 8 x 10s of us from the 3 races we ran together in 2013.  I had a lot of other professional race photos that I have bought that I haven’t done much with other than post on Facebook, and I was also realizing I should figure out a medal hanger, because I was collecting a few medals and they were all on closet door knobs. So I decided to take down what I had up on one wall of my bedroom (the original wall was framed black and white pictures I had taken during my study abroad in Europe…I like them but I am ok with a little change) and my dad had a design concept for a “running wall” he wanted to try. So today he came to be handy with tools and creative with design and I handed my wall over to him. Here are a few more pictures of different segments of the wall:

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Close-up of the medal hanger:

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He wanted to make something that is flexible, as I run more races and have more pictures he wants me to be able to add to it easily and switch around pictures without additional holes in the wall. I already have a few more pictures I want to print out and have framed, but my printer broke as well as the Rite Aid photo machine, so I didn’t get them printed before he came today. His original design was to hang those chains from a long two by four that he had painted black and screwed these cool stainless steel knobs into. But since my walls are made of plaster and not drywall, the walls would simply not hold the weight of the two by four so he ended up going with Plan B and just screwing the chains into the wall. I think it turned out really cool! Can’t wait to print out and frame a few more pictures for it, and run more races and get more pictures and medals to add :):). Thanks to my dad for doing this for me!

And here’s a bonus picture of my parents’ dog Mia asleep on my futon, cuz it’s cute:):

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A Hodgepodge of Good Things: New Medal Hanger, Volunteering at a Race, New Running Shoes, First Outdoor Run in 7 Weeks

Thursday I had a bad day mentally regarding my injury comeback. I have a half marathon that I am registered to run tomorrow that I had long ago come to terms with having to DNS (“Did Not Start” aka drop out of), but I hadn’t yet made much consideration to races after that one.  I had never let myself dwell on the fact that other races also may not happen, and Thursday 1/23 marked one month til my NEXT scheduled half marathon on 2/23. Even though I am SO EXCITED to be running again PERIOD….my 1.75 miles of 2:00 min run / 1:00 minute walk intervals on the treadmill on Thursday, my longest run since I was injured, just felt pathetic. The day before I ran/walked 1.5 miles on the treadmill, following a 55 minute killer spin class, and felt so happy and over the moon. However, Thursday I ran/walked .25 miles FURTHER and yet was frustrated and sad. Makes sense? NOPE. But I guess that is how recovering from injury goes. Ups and downs both physically and mentally. But it really hit me Thursday….how can I be ready for a half marathon in a month?! Well…..maybe I won’t be. And that is ok. Because this race isn’t my whole running career. But if I push recovery I will miss not only this HM, but many more after it. I started to come to terms with it after the initial sadness and frustration of not only missing my HM on Sunday, but possibly having to miss my 2/23 one too. And then, I got something delivered that I have been anxiously anticipating that really helped me feel better:

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My medal hanger!!! It is part of one of my favorite quotes: “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” -MLK, Jr. Appropriate, since Monday was MLK day. My dad is coming over tomorrow to help me hang it up and help me create a really cool “running brag wall” that he designed…..so excited!

Today, all the feelings of weakness and frustration disappeared. Today was a great day. Today, I woke up at 6:00am and went to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park in a “feels like” temperature of -4 degrees to spend 5 hours outside volunteering at NYC Runs Brrr-ooklyn Hot Chocolate Half Marathon. I handed out T-shirts before the race and then medals at the finish line. Even though it was freeeeeezing, I had a BLAST! It was so nice to give back to the running community that has given me so much, and I met some awesome people. It was a great time, and the participants got nice tech shirts, mugs for hot chocolate with the race logo on them, and really nice medals. I definitely want to run this next year!

Volunteering “Selfie”:

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Really cool participant medals I handed out:

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Participant shirts and mugs:

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After I finished volunteering, I headed to my favorite little local running store in Park Slope, Brooklyn near Prospect Park called Jack Rabbit. I wanted to do a fitting for new running shoes. I have been running in the Mizuno Wave Inspire 9s for a year now, have 3 pairs (1 retired, 1 almost ready for retirement, and 1 that is 4 months old…I rotate between 2) and I really like them, but kind of wanted something different in the mix. And I wanted to do a running store fitting (where they analyze your gait by video taping your feet running in each shoe on the treadmill and watch it in slow motion) because I was wondering if I still needed stability shoes for overpronation or if I could try something neutral. The employee doing my fitting thinks I still need stability shoes, and said the Inspire is a good match for me but had some other recommendations of things I could add to the rotation. He put me in Asics Kayano 20s and OH MY GOD…..heaven in a shoe. They are more expensive than the Inspires but I absolutely fell in love with them. So supportive and feels great! And pretty too:

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I could not resist the temptation to take them for a spin IMMEDIATELY. To volunteer at the race I had worn several layers of winter running clothes under my coat anyway since I figured those were the warmest and most comfortable things I owned for standing outside for 5 hours…..so I took off my coat, scarf, furry vest, and ear muffs, swapped my boots for my new shoes, and returned to Prospect Park (one of my favorite places to run!) and took the new shoes for their first run! I did 2 miles of run/walk intervals. It started snowing during the run, but I didn’t care. I had new kicks on my feet and I was running OUTSIDE for the first time in SEVEN WEEKS! I was so happy!

First run outside in 7 weeks “selfie”….

I was happier than I look but my face was frozen so my smile isn’t as big as it felt haha:

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So, a new medal hanger, fun volunteering at a race, new running shoes, and my first outdoor run in 7 weeks. Not too shabby for getting myself over a bad day :)

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After 6 weeks no running….I ran today!

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After a 7 minute recumbent bike warmup, and then 30 minutes on the elliptical, I visited the treadmill for a mile run!!! It was really more like a walk/jog….I alternated 2 minutes walking with 3 minutes jogging for a mile in over 14 minutes… but it was something….and it was great!!!

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On Strength Training

Well….today was going to be a swim night but ended up being a Strength Training night.

I’ve been feeling like I have a little cold coming on since yesterday morning. Nothing major I don’t think….scratchy throat, stuffy nose. Been trying to combat it with Emergen-C, Zicam, Flo-Nase, Advil, lots of water, good night’s rest. ANYWAY…. I think I am going to be just fine, but decided it was in my best interest to skip my swim tonight. Already a rainy, damp, chilly day….having a stuffy nose and going swimming in a cold pool just didn’t sound like a great idea. But I did not come home and crash on the couch (tempting as it was)…instead I did a full “return to running” strength routine!

Strength training for runners is really important for injury prevention and recovery. I learned this the hard way a year ago (something about this time a year and getting injured for me, apparently! I guess running in January is overrated anyway) when I developed my first major running related injury, ITBS (Illio-tibial Band Syndrome). ITBS is generally felt as a sharp pain on the outside of the knee. It is often caused by muscle imbalances- in particular weak hips. Having weak hips causes the pelvis to be unstable while running, which leaves you more susceptible to a variety of injuries, ITBS being a common one. Or at least this was the case for me. When I had to take a break from running for several weeks because of it, and the few months after I returned to running, I religiously followed a strengthening regimen targeting the hips. But as the ITBS stopped being a problem, I started to let strength training slide, until I basically never did it. I can’t help but wonder if this contributed to my recent foot injury.

Well, I have decided on a New Years Resolution, and that is not to let strength training slip away again!!! So tonight I went back to my trusty hip routine. Which is a combination of two different hip routines:

Myrtl Hip Girdle Routine

Strength Running ITB Rehab Routine

I do 20 reps of each exercise in both routines, starting with “Myrtl” and moving to “Strength Running.” I do not do the clam shells in Myrtl though because they are done in Strength Running but with a resistance band. (And tonight I did regular squats instead of pistol squats, just was worried the one legged ones were going to be too much for my foot).

I also did ankle and foot exercises that I learned from a physical therapist friend to help strengthen the muscles of my left foot and ankle that have been feeling stiff and weak since the foot was in a boot for 5 weeks.

Also, I discovered this routine today. I tried a few of the exercises from it, a few of them I think I need to work up to as my foot and ankle get a little stronger (he did give modifications so whenever he did I did the modification, and skipped a few), but I think this routine will be PERFECT for getting my muscles ready to run again:

Rapid Muscle Response Workout

So….runners, do you strength train? What are your favorite exercises?

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Goodbye to “The Boot!”

Well this is my formal GOODBYE to the boot! I took it off for the last time, and hope I will never have to put it on again!!!!

Good Riddance to You, Boot!

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First, a quick aside. Before I say goodbye to it for good, I can’t believe I forgot to share a true gem of a picture from my Adventures in the Boot section of this blog entry. On December 28th I attended the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium between Rutgers University and Notre Dame with my dad and brother. We entered the stadium on the exact opposite side as our seats were and I had no idea how I’d manage to walk that far in the boot, so we had to get Yankee Stadium staff to put me in a wheelchair. It was a bit embarrassing but I was in good spirits about it, and my dad had a ball taking a photo shoot of me being pushed around Yankee Stadium in a wheelchair, all in the name of being able to cheer for my favorite college football team (Rutgers!!)

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Anyway….. so this week has gone well for me. This was my 5th week in the boot, but the first time I was cleared to add more physical activity, and was also allowed to wear the boot only to work my full-time job (where I have to do a ton of walking around) and then spend a few hours each day in sneakers and no boot. I did the stationary bike every other day for 35-45 minutes each time, and it felt AMAZING to be sweating and getting my heart rate up again. I went swimming once. Friday I got to go to yoga for the first time since I hurt my foot and that felt WONDERFUL. And today I went on a mile walk. My foot doesn’t hurt anymore, but the muscles that I didn’t use while walking in the boot (the boot keeps the foot/ankle in a static position so you walk without flexing your ankle at all) are feeling a little stiff and sore. Hopefully that will work itself out quickly though. Tomorrow I will work sans boot, and hopefully get to shove that thing way in the back of my closet!

My plan for returning to running is to play it by ear. This week I am going to continue biking, add the elliptical, and see how walking around all day everyday at work without the boot goes. If this week goes well, I hope to start running next week!! A light at the end of the tunnel!

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