rain over me

Wow, for awhile this week I almost forgot what the sun looked like…this week was just rain, rain and more rain.  Thankfully it didn’t affect me as much as it did the US Open-2 full days of washouts meaning once again  (3rd year in a row?) the men’s final is on Monday!  (time to install a roof somewhere at Flushing Meadows…?)

As for me, the only day the rain really affected my workouts was track nite.  I kept monitoring the hourly forecast, hoping for the best but still expecting a wet evening.  (that’s what she said.)  And sure enough, once 7:15 rolled along, the rain hadn’t really let up.  But me and a few others still decided to show up to the track.  Crazy?  Maybe.  Not sure what the intended workout was gonna be, but the “plan B” was a 2-mile time trial.  Uggghhh…why do time trials always seem to happen in the rain?  I had a feeling it wouldn’t be my best, but at least I’ll get some kind of speed workout in tonite.  And so off we went, with the only obstacles in lane 1 being puddles, as the track was empty and the usual soccer balls and bikes were nowhere in sight.  I was over 7 minute pace at the 1200m mark and knew this was gonna be a slow one…but just tried to hold on.  The 2 miles were done in 14:24, estimated mile splits 7:11/7:13.  So I basically did this at my 5-mile race pace.  Blame it on the rain I guess…

As for my recovery run the next day, I thankfully didn’t head out til after a brief downpour and my run was just drizzling and/or misty.  I hit up the bridle path and with the exception of some puddles, it actually was not that bad.  It however got too dark at one point so I had to take it to the roads…guess cooler days bring darker nights…

Last nite was tempo with the distance upped once again…instead of the normal 1200s we did 1800s.  Only 2 of them, but still, as we had to do the same pace we did for the 1200s.  And I was pretty consistent with this workout, ran 7:49 for the first and 7:50 for the 2nd but I still say that it was not a whole 1800 as there was no way I was running 7 minute pace  (Mar. Garmin said the 1st was  1.05 miles, the 2nd 1.03 miles.  And I believe 1800 meters should be closer to 1.1 miles…?)  So I guess this was closer to 7:30 pace which seems more realistic for me.

And the next challenge will be the long run this weekend…13 miles with 8 at marathon pace.  Getting nervous thinking about it… 😮

lightning crashes

And this post title has been brought to you by a song that brings back a lot of memories of the spring/summer of 1995…

(Oh and I may add that with this post, I have posted more times in the month of July than I have in all previous months of 2011, combined.  Guess I have my blogging mojo back?)

So as I mentioned yesterday, I knew Tuesday’s tracky workout was gonna consist of repetitions.  Which I normally dread because they’re usually short stuff like 100s, 150s, 200s and I really suck at those.  However, when I was told the workout was gonna be 8 x 400-and when I was told to target 1:38 per rep, I actually felt a little better about it?  Maybe since being able to hold that for longer intervals makes it less scary…

Interval Time Pace
1 1:35.42 6:23.91
2 1:38.87 6:37.79
3 1:38.19 6:35.05
4 1:37.51 6:32.32
5 1:37.12 6:30.75
6 1:34.79 6:21.37

Started off a little fast, but settled in, and actually was able to pick it up a little for the last one (and it may have been a second or 2 faster had I not needed to hurdle over a soccer ball around 200 meters in.)

Oh but wait a minute!  This workout was supposed to be 8 reps, why were there only 6?  As the title says, lightning crashes…and in this case, cut our workout short-we were done after 6 and went right into a cool-down.  Little disappointed that we weren’t able to go the full 8-as I really felt I could have done it well-but good that the coaches were looking out for our safety.

And as it turned out, we were lucky that the workout ended right then and there…the wind was ridiculous (knocking over signs, trash cans, etc) as we were heading to the L train…you can say we made up for the missed quarters as we were booking it as the skies opened up a coupla blocks away from the station.  And if the night couldn’t get any weirder, the L train had problems just as we hit Manhattan and was sitting in the 1st Ave station for quite awhile.  Finally it was revealed it wasn’t going anywhere any time soon so we all escaped the train and grabbed a bite and a glass of wine in the East Village while waiting out the storm (not to mention our transportation options!)  So a crazy evening ended well.

As for tomorrow, I got 800s on tap bright and early…oh boy I’m gonna need lotsa caffeine to get through the workday tomorrow 🙂

t-minus 9 days and counting

Yikes.  The countdown to race day is now in the single digits.  And I will actually be in Chicago exactly one week from now.  When did this happen?

So taper week #2 almost comes to a close.  Unlike Lam (don’t worry Lam-we can definitely agree to disagree! 🙂 ) I’m actually not minding the taper too much.  The way I see it, my legs worked hard for 3 1/2 months and need this time to bounce back in time for race day…as was shown this summer, racing on tired legs does not lead to optimal race performances!

And one last week of speedy workouts.  Thankfully cutting mileage means that there is no need to pad my mileage before/after workouts!!  Tuesday-thankfully the predicted tornado didn’t show up, so that meant lower loops at MP/tempo were on…

  Time Distance Pace
MP loop 1 14:14 1.73 8:13
MP loop 2 13:52 1.72 8:03
tempo loop 13:21 1.73 7:42

I was happy with the MP loops, the tempo loop felt a little sluggish but I wasn’t too worried about that (especially conisdering the humidity that nite!)  Coach DC even said during the second MP loop that I could just do the 3rd at MP if I wanted…decided to play it by ear.  My group was going a little fast but I let them go…told DC that I wanted to stick to my own pace, that “my marathon pace is not their marathon pace” (they were probably doing sub-8s, if not a little faster)  Just like race day…especially in the early miles, run my own race-not someone else’s!!

Wednesday I learned maybe it was not the best thing that I was slacking on the yoga front…as my flexibility had definitely lessened.  Unfortunately during the month of August, when I was dealing with moving stuff, something had to give…and it couldn’t be running!!  And then September was just a jam-packed month, dealing with peak mileage…but my body definitely appreciated some good stretching.  And I was able to sorta multitask-instead of taking the subway uptown, just ran up there instead!!  Once again, luckily the forecasted rain held off…

Thursday was to be my last hard workout, and given that the forecast was saying 90-100% chance of rain, I thought I’d have to be doing it on the dreadmill indoors.  But somehow that chance of rain lessened to 10-20% (with the higher percentages not til I’d be home lounging on the couch)…so to Urban I went, to do some 600m intervals…

Interval Time Distance Pace
1 2:30 0.37 6:43
2 2:31 0.38 6:40
3 2:34 0.38 6:41
4 2:28 0.38 6:33

My group was supposed to do between 4 and 6 of them, but I cut myself off at 4-that was really all I felt I needed.  Was just glad to get it in before any rain…though once again the humidity was killer-I probably looked like I was caught in a rainstorm after the workout!  And afterwards I succumbed (sp?) to the lure of a nicely chilled glass of Riesling…so much for limiting my alcohol consumption!!  (though I only did have one glass.  And that was the first drink i have had since Sunday-as a matter of fact, I passed on drinks after the workout Tuesday nite because I needed rest and wasn’t in the mood to drink.)

So that’s it-the hard work is done…nothing but easy stuff til 10-10-10… (and I’m not obsessing about the weather yet.  Too soon!)

too late in the game for this

At this point of training…days away from tapering, a little over 3 weeks to go…not only are the legs feeling fragile but the mind is too.  At this point, all I want is reassurance, that the training is coming together, that I will get my goal.  The last thing one needs is a bad workout.  Yeah I know bad days happen…but I feel it’s too late in the game for it!

So last nite’s workout was a downward ladder on the roads…600m, 500m, 400m, 300m, then 4 200’s.  When I was coming home from work, it was totally a torrential downpour (though apparently Brooklyn and Queens had it much worse!) and I was seriously considering bailing on the workout.  But then I decided that I had to go uptown anyway to get my bib for Sunday so I can play it by ear…just means I can’t frontload.  But when I walked outside it had actually stopped, so I ran the 3 miles uptown.  And it did wind up holding off for the workout, though it was humid as hell.

So anyways.  The workout…

Distance Target Time Actual Time Pace
0.36 2:27 2:30 6:55
0.31 2:02 2:02 6:40
0.25 1:40 1:35 6:27
0.18 1:13 1:08 6:25
0.12 0:48 0:43 5:51
0.12 0:48 0:44 6:03
0.12 0:48 0:44 6:02
0.12 0:48 0:44 6:09

I know for the most part-by the numbers, it doesn’t look so bad.  Except for the 600…not sure what happened there, I remember not feeling great during that one.  But as I couldn’t really remember most of my target times (looked at them again after the workout) what bothered me more than anything was how badly I was getting dusted by the rest of the group.  I mean, these are people that I definitely can and have been able to stick with in workouts and races, if not finish ahead of them.  But tonite I was getting my butt kicked and the legs just weren’t responding.  My mind was saying “stick with them!” but the legs were just saying “f*ck you”…ugh, the whole workout was very demotivating for me.  Wasn’t what I needed at this point in the game…

I’m not sure what this all means in this point of my training.  Sunday is gonna be key.  As I am gonna try and run the last 6 miles at MP…and praying it will go well.  I really need the running gods to hand me a performance that tells me that I’m not kidding myself thinking I can run a 3:40 marathon!  3 weeks to go…gotta find some way to get it together.

#trackmeetmilemajorfail

Well if there is anything last nite’s “NYRR Tuesday Night Speed Series” revealed to me-it’s that I am not cut out to race crazy short distances.

So I mentioned before what the dealio was for last nite-mile time trial, on the track at Icahn Stadium.  Sounds like fun, but no one anticipated the crap weather.  I still decided not to bail, as the forecast did say that the weather would clear up around race time (7:30-ish)  Unfortunately, I decided to pass on trying out my brand-spankin’ new racing flats, as I figured a slick track surface would not be ideal to try them out…went with the DS-Trainers instead.  (The Adidas Tempos are resting up for Saturday 🙂 )

So I actually got to leave work “early” (aka 5 pm) for this (and my boss said “is tonite the Corporate Challenge?” when she saw me in my running gear.  a month too early…)…headed up to Urban, then whoever was there divided and conquered…or in other words, split up into small groups so the very nice peeps who volunteered to drive could, well, get us there 🙂  Unfortunately we hit a LOT of traffic….man, who knew so many people would be heading to Randall’s Island…this meet is really drawing a crowd…oh wait, the traffic is actually heading to the Bronx and most likely Yankee Stadium…my bad!!  And the Google Maps on the CrackBerry actually had no clue where we were…said we were in the Bronx when we were actually still in Manhattan 😛  Finally, the traffic cleared up once we got past the toll plaza, and we got to the stadium not too long later (though had to drive around in circles to find out where to park!)

yes, this was what we had to run in.

So luckily, there was a covered part where we could warm up and hang out til the mile race started!!  And there was a possibility it would start earlier than expected…the rains drove the crowds away, meaning 1 combined-gender heat for the other events.  And during this time, I changed the shirt I was gonna wear for the race 3 times…had a singlet on originally, but changed to short-sleeve, then eventually to long-sleeve.  Pin the tag on the shirt and put the bracelet on so we can get our happy hour drink specials…I mean to show that we were not bandits 😛

Before we knew it, was time to split up into heats….I think usually they separate by gender, this time they just did mixed-gender heats, separated by predicted time.  Not surprisingly, I would be in the 2nd heat…so 5 more minutes to warm up…all the good that would end up doing.  The first race finished (with some exciting close races in there!) then our heat lined up.  A coupla words of wisdom from the coaches, then the gun sounded.  All I could do was run hard, but not too hard that I’d choke at the end…I was getting passed, but let them go.  I think I finished the first 400m in 1:40…so around pace for a 6:40 mile?  The 2nd and 3rd laps felt harder, and I was really feeling the head winds…I wasn’t taking splits (I had Mr. Garmin set to take automatic .25 mile splits, but they didn’t look accurate)…but from what I heard being called out as I passed by the start each time, I was definitely slowing down.  (ugh, and to hear the gun for the “bell lap” before I’ve even reached the last turn of my 3rd lap!)  I was able to pick it up for the last lap (estimated 1:42)…I heard the announcers counting down, and knew I had to hustle or I wouldn’t even make it in under 7 minutes!!  Made it by the skin of my teeth-6:56.  Estimated splits:

Lap time Cumulative time
1:40 1:40
1:46 3:26
1:48 5:14
1:42 6:56

Update 5/25/10-to add more insult to injury, the official times are posted and mine was actually 6:57.7.  Ugh.

Was I disappointed?  Hells yeah.  I just felt rain or no rain, it should have been faster.  I mean-I ran a 6:58 final mile in the 4-miler last month, I ran 6:33 in the 5th ave mile in 2004 and supposedly am in better shape now-yet all I could come up with last night was 6:56?  And even said 4-miler predicted a 6:31 mile.  Several peeps (including the coaches) said that the times were most likely 10-25 seconds slower than normal.  But then there are those who say I shouldn’t be using the weather as an excuse for a crap race!!  Devil’s advocate, I hate you.

The head coach did write us all a nice email today saying how proud he was of all who showed up, that it “spoke volumes to your dedication and toughness”…and yes the times were slower but “for the real results, see above.”  Made me feel a little better.  Just a little though.  You all know me, I don’t like to “just show up”, I want to run my best and yesterday just was not it.  What will make me feel better?  Running a nice, easy half-marathon in Brooklyn this Saturday.  Don’t get me wrong, I will be racing it, but it will seem nice and easy compared to racing a mile!!

Changing the topic briefly-one good part about the rain meant I got home in time to watch Dancing With the Stars (while having 1 1/2 glasses of nicely chilled Riesling…meaning watching Evan Lysacek dancing the encore for the week, the one that got him the perfect 30 (and definitely my favorite dance of his this season!)

Yum.

Evan FTW!!! You heard it here first 😛 Next week’s final will be interesting…will it be the golden boy or the ringer Pussycat? 🙂

dear weather gods…

…please cut the crap this week.  xoxo, nyflygirl

Yes, I am not happy that both days that I am supposed to race, or put forth a good effort this week, the weather looks to completely suck.

First, rain is predicted for Tuesday.  Which for an outdoor track meet, ain’t good…it’s not like you can just show up, run and go home.  There’s all the waiting around through all the different events, and all the heats…and me being the slowpoke that I am will definitely be in one of the last heats.  Honestly, my heart isn’t in this one, but apparently the time trial is needed to base what my workout times/paces should be for the next coupla months…

But even worse is the forecast for Saturday and for the Brooklyn Half.  Overnight low of 64 on Fri, high of 80 on Saturday with scattered thunderstorms.  Which means most likely during the race, it will be in the 70s and humid.  I know the race start is 7 am, but will that help enough?  I don’t know, my body cannot handle this type of heat and humidity.  I’ve tried these past few weeks to acclimate, but not sure if I did enough.  And if any of you are thinking this is just mental, I can assure you it’s not-my infamous choke job at the 2008 Mini 10K is proof of that.  No matter how hard I tried, my body decided at mile 4 that it couldn’t run hard anymore-and it was only 71 degrees during the race!!

So now I don’t know what to do.  Is there anything more I can do between now and Saturday to acclimate?  Or should I just scrap this one and pick another goal race?  Unfortunately “just finishing” is not good enough for me…I really want a race to show me where I’m at with Chicago training starting very soon, and to show me that I’m not kidding myself thinking I can run a 3:40 marathon.

And I’m kicking myself right now, that Saturday’s Healthy Kidney 10K was perfect weather and that I wasted a good race opportunity.  I thought I did the right thing-looking at the times, I wouldn’t have scored for the team and it was probably better that I was out cheering instead (plus it was cool to run by the start/finish and hear the announcement that the leaders were on course record pace-which did end up falling that day too, by I think 7 seconds?)  But now I look back and wonder what could have been..

wet singlet contest

Wow, I don’t think I’ve seen a race as cursed, weather-wise, as the More/Fitness Magazine Half-Marathon.  I seem to remember it being really cold two years ago.  Then of course, the infamous “fun run” last year.  And what would the weather gods serve up this year?  Constant, pounding rain…very similar to the 18-mile Tune-Up last year.  I thought we were getting off easy only doing 13.1 miles.  Boy was I wrong!

So the Flyers were acting as paceleaders again, and I signed up to help lead the 2:00 group…there would be 4 or 5 others in addition to myself, so that group would be in good hands.  Hit up the expo on Friday…picked up my nice paceleader singlet (though as it turned out, white would not be the ideal color to wear on Sunday? 😉 )  Got my swag bag which actually had some decent stuff in it this year (e.g., a Lululemon headband, a box of Barilla Plus pasta)…and thankfully, no weird stuff like the dog food and Astroglide that were in last year’s swag bag.  Carbed up Saturday night while with la familia for mom’s bday…but an early bedtime wasn’t quite happening, thanks to me not being able to tear my attention away from the old-school episodes of “The Hills” that MTV was showing nonstop 🙂

The alarm the next morning sounded at 5:30 AM…and all I could think about was the nap I was going to take later.  Was really debating what to do in terms of the attire, as yes it was raining, but cool.  I thought about capris/tights but nixed that as I was hopeful it would stop raining…and the less cold, wet clothing I had to deal with, the better.  Plus I wanted something with pockets to hold gels (the singlet had a pocket, but was a little on the small side.)  So decided to go with a skirt and the singlet, with arm warmers and my black Flyers cap…thinking that once we get started running, will be just fine.    And even poked holes in a trash bag and put it over my outfit just to keep the rain off til then.  But little did I know.

Yeah, when I got outside…it kinda sucked.  And it seemed like once I got to the park and where the Flyers water station was, it was raining even harder.  Thank god for some NYRR-supplied ponchos and for Mr. President lending us ladies his umbrella.  I think we all shared the same sentiments…is anyone even gonna want/need pace groups today?  Are race plans going out the window with the weather?  Are we crazy for doing this? 😛  After what seemed like forever (we had to get there at 7, for an 8 am race start!)  we headed towards the corrals.  And unfortunately, once we hit the corrals, we had to hand over the ponchos.  And I cursed my attire selection.  Dear god, what was I thinking.  It’s freezing.  This sucks.

So we were all really really hoping that the speeches would be kept to a minimum, given the downpours…didn’t look like it was the case tho.  Race didn’t start til a few minutes after 8.  Oh and as we passed through the start chute, Kristin Davis (of SATC fame…oh and some may remember, Melrose Place too!) was waving to and cheering on the runners.

So the plan-a 2 hour (or sub-2) half…9:09s or better.  Easy, right?  Not so, the first mile was 10:09.  I think my legs were still warming up a little bit (when we were in the corrals, my calves were shaking from the cold) but it was also really really crowded.  Still crowded in mile 2, which was 9:24.  Mile 3 was a little better at 9:04…so hopefully once the crowds clear out, we could make up some time on the back end.  Oh, and this entire loop we were holding blue and white pace balloons, but the “2:00” had washed off because of the rain, so everyone was asking us “What group are you?  What pace are you?”  2 hours, give or take.  There were some who stuck with us throughout, like this one very sweet Italian woman (who said she loved NY so much that she thinks the lyrics of “Empire State of Mind” are so true 🙂 )  My co-paceleaders-CN, DM, DM (yep there were 2!), HM and JH were awesome…great company to help get me through the 13.1 miles.  Oh, and can’t forget the Flyers who were at the water station just north of Tavern on the Green!  (near the end of miles 6 and 12.)  Seeing them in mile 6 was a nice boost, almost made me forget I had another loop and then some to go 😛

in full paceleader attire, looking like a drowned fish.

So by mile 7, we had made up the time and were on pace…just needed to stick to it or ahead of it for the remaining 6.1 miles.  Which I was able to do, with the exception of the Harlem hill mile which was a 9:17.  But I had to deal with another annoyance…my skirt kept slipping down and I had to keep pulling it up.  If that sounds familiar at all, that’s because I had to do the same during the 18-mile Tune-Up in 2008…damn wardrobe malfunction!!  But I knew what was going on this time, all the rain was weighing the skirt down and causing it to slip.   So yeah…my singlet was probably see-through by this point, my skirt falling down, between those 2 things I was prolly giving everyone a free show.  The Flyer water station could not come soon enough, as it meant only a little over a mile to go, and still on pace!  Once we passed by mile 13, I yelled out that whoever’s still with me, we are gonna finish under 2 hours!!  And so we did…on the clock and on the watch too (just under 1:58.)  

Wow-SO glad that’s over!!  And everyone around me seemed to share those same sentiments.  The Italian lady gave me and one of the other pace leaders a hug and thanked us for doing a good job…which I thought was really nice and in a way, made toughing it out in the rain worth it.  remember?  what had I said before?  “nothing would make me happier than helping runners achieve their goal, cross the finish line in the time they dreamed of.” 

And like a cruel joke, the rain stopped once we crossed the finish.  And even though I had warmed up while running, now I was starting to get cold.  I saw women wearing those Mylar heat sheets but didn’t know where to find them…just keep moving forward.  I stopped by the Flyer water station to say hi and thanks, and then headed home.  And even took the subway to go one stop, thats how lazy I was.  And went without Starbucks in favor of a hot shower, my Snuggie and a nap.

And I kept the medal I was given at the end…figured it would be a nice memento of sorts…if I ever want to wuss out on a run, think back to this one!!  Though I hope Sunday has bought me some good weather karma for all remaining goal races of 2010! 🙂