it must have been the skirt!

(aka my Scotland Run 10K report.)

Or could it have been the shoes…or the socks…or something else?

OK, so I signed up for this one since it was a club points race and really did not know what to expect.  I have never run well on this particular 10k course (there is a great description of the race course in Joe’s race report)…my best time being 49:29 in the 2005 Healthy Kidney 10K.  In terms of Central Park 10K courses, I prefer either the Kleinerman course (my 10k PR) or the Mini 10K course (my 2nd-best 10k time.)  So I figured the best way to approach it is use it as an excuse to play dress-up (rocked the plaid running skirt and matching knee-high compression socks to sorta go with the Scotland theme…in addition to the red Flyer singlet) and have fun, while seeing where I was at.

So my first confession-I am a bad Jew, I “broke” Passover last nite 🙂  Indulged in pasta…and oatmeal this morning…I had to carbo-load for a 10K race right, otherwise I’d be bonking halfway up Harlem Hill.  (But knowing I lasted longer than quite a few others I know, I don’t feel so bad 🙂 )

Ran a mile warmup to the start…beautiful morning!!  When I got to bag check, I saw speedy Flyer AP (who would go on to be our first scorer for both the open and masters men’s teams-awesome!) and we chatted for a few…and compared shoes as he was wearing the same ones I was.  Decided to go with the Adidas Tempos for this one, and was quite happy with my decision 🙂

So around 9:40ish, was time to head to the corrals…yellow this time for me, not surprising for a points race.  (And as soon as they dropped the barriers between the corrals, it actually was a little bit of a free-for-all, as I saw people with high bib numbers, even those with 5 digits, sneaking in.  Really needs to be policed better…)  Flyer JJ was there with me and we chatted a little waiting for the start…he being 2 weeks away from Boston, was intending to run this race at marathon pace…sub-8 pace.  So I said that my goal for the day would be to either stay with him or ahead of him.  (Well as long as he ran that pace and not too too much faster 🙂 )  So after listening to bagpipe music from some band called Whiskey something, the usual announcements, and the national anthem, we were off…and was quite crowded just to cross the start!!  We’d start walking…then running…then come to a stop…then start jogging again.  But finally we did cross the start 🙂

Mile 1 (7:38)- Up that gradual uphill on the west side of the park.  Kept JJ in my sights the entire time…but honestly, as I really have no concept of race pace right now, I wasn’t sure if I was going at 7:5x pace, or was it faster?  Well that question was answered at the mile split and the first thing I thought was “I still feel pretty good.”

Mile 2 (7:33)-And knowing mile 2 was a net downhill…even better place to make up some time.  And in this mile I passed a certain someone in a highlighter singlet…hehe.  Additional goal, stay ahead of him!  And I was still keeping JJ in sight…sometimes he’d go ahead, sometimes I would, either way I was still running well.

Mile 3 (7:42)-Enter the hills.  The first Harlem Hill sucked (and I was getting passed there), but I took advantage of the downhill reward afterwards.  I never slow for water in 10ks, but I did so today…though the temp was a cool 50, it was very sunny and I felt it.  Flyer DG was running and cheering in the other direction…was good to see!  There was no 5k mat for this race, but I looked at Mr. Garmin at the 5K point (the marking was on the ground) and saw about 23:45…mile 4 makes it tough to negative split but either way barring a disaster, I had under 50 minutes in the bag…now the question is will it start with a 49, 48 or even 47?

Mile 4 (8:18)-Yuck.  This mile, between the last Harlem Hill and the gradual incline to east 90th, is always, always a slog and I always, always, lose time here.  I lose JJ for good in this mile (he’d go on to finish about 30 secs ahead of me)…just forget about that, concentrate on my race, run my own race.  I wasn’t really getting passed in this mile, which was a good sign.  Saw Flyer GW at Engineer’s Gate…was good to see him, there wasn’t a lot of Flyer support on the course for this one (however, this was a holiday weekend, the half-marathon in Queens was the same morning, and I think there were also some tri/bike things going on.)

Mile 5 (7:32)-The worst is now over, just bring it in.  This is a perfect time to start picking up the pace a little…as this mile is mostly flat, followed by Cat Hill downhill.  Just kept moving on up, picking off those who started out too fast (my teammate DT being one of them…he was lined up near me and JJ and really took off at the beginning!)  RG from Urban Athetics passed me before Cat Hill and we exchanged “good jobs”…but I figured I’d also try and keep him in my sights too.  Whatever you have to do to keep you motivated and running hard in the later, tired miles, right?

Mile 6 (7:38)-Almost done.  Time to run balls out (or in my case, tits out…hahaha.)  I saw Flyer JB who had passed by me in the early miles and I passed him back just south of 72nd…he said he went out too fast and was done for, and said several things to try and motivate me (I just remember something that had to do with Braveheart?  But who’s mind is working perfectly after 40 minutes of hard runing?)  I was definitely tiring-this being the longest distance race I’ve done since my injury, but still hung in there.

Last .2 mile (1:33)-Quick look at my watch said that I have a possibility of 47:xx…but it was gonna be very close!!  I thought back to the last .2 mile of the 2009 Mini 10K and how great that was…not sure I had another 1:30 in me, but I had to gun it all the same.  As I approached the finish, I did hear the announcers calling my name, which was a very nice boost and really helped me finish up strong!!

And I did make sub-48 with a few seconds to spare!  47:54, 7:43 pace…a huge course PR.  And as I found out later-I actually scored for the women’s open team in a points race (for the 2nd time ever)…was the 4th Flyer female today (guess most of the speedy women decided not to show up today? 😛 )

So past the finish, exchanged “congrats” and “good job” with Flyers and peeps from other teams (there was one woman from UA who had been running nearby in miles 3-5…turns out we were sorta using each other as rabbits…anyway, when she finished not too far behind me, I said “good job.”  No matter what the team, I make it a point to congratulate the other runner…hey we’re all in this together, right?)  Got interviewed briefly for the NYRR video-I make an appearance 4:51 into the video! (I think the outfit got a bit of attention…definitely got a lot of compliments/comments on it!)  Found a nice-sized group of my teammates and chatted and exchanged race stories, listened to the band play for a little bit, then me and a few others went out for celebratory margaritas (oh, and some food too)…perfect day to sit outside sipping those babies!

So I’m definitely pleased with this one, especially since I really haven’t been “training.”  Even though my weekly mileage is now in the 20s, I haven’t been doing any speedwork yet, but looked like I didn’t lose all that I got from last year’s training.  And the best part-didn’t feel the IT Band at all…it almost felt like last spring/summer.  (But it still got an icing when I got home.)  So things just may be on track, so to speak…but that does also mean keeping up cross-training/strength work…if that’s what helped me rehab this thing, gotta keep that up so it stays far, far away…right?

And I think I found my new perfect racing shoe!! 🙂  And if it really was the skirt…am I gonna have to wear it for all races now? :-O

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cherry bomb

Fun times in Brooklyn today!! The Cherry Tree relay was everything I expected. And then some more. Especially in the hill department. 😛

My team? The Gossip Girls!! My teammates? Uptown Girl and her TRD teammate AU. We all just wanted to have fun and run our best, whatever it was. So definitely my kind of team to be on 🙂 Hell, I even wore one of my running skirts over my tights because I thought it sorta fit with the theme 🙂

The trip out to Brooklyn was much easier than expected and even kind of scenic, with the Q going over the Manhattan bridge. We then decided what our team order was going to be…considering all 3 of us were pretty evenly matched, it really didn’t matter what the order was. But I volunteered to be anchor-for a couple of reasons. First off, I wouldn’t have to worry about transitioning at the end of my leg, the finish line calling my name can make me kick it in and finish strong. Second-I figured that since I didn’t get to run my anchor leg at Need for Speed last year, I wanted to do it today 🙂

We got to Prospect Park with enough time to spare and headed across the park to where the start line and the relay area were. Once we got to the relay area, we heard the announcement that the race would be starting in 10 minutes…then all of a sudden they announced it would be starting in 2 minutes!! oops!! AU headed to the start to kick things off for our team…we didn’t even hear a starting horn or anything, just an announcement “oh yeah, the race started x minutes ago.” Uptown Girl and I ran around a little bit to warm up and then headed back to the relay exchange area to wait. And to cheer-I saw lotsa Flyers who were running the 10-miler. Around 25 minutes into the race, AU handed off the slap bracelet (yep, the relay baton was one of those old-school slap bracelets! i love it!) to Uptown Girl who then ran our second leg. I jogged around a little more to stay warm (it wasnt crazy cold, but there was a very light rain-okay when running, not when standing around) and kept watching the runners. I saw Uptown Girl running strong and approaching the transition area so I got in position-handoff was done and I was off and running!!

As for my run-I think a picture is worth a thousand words.

mile 1.  i had just passed the guy in black.So of course, I felt good at the beginning. I tried to seek out 10-milers and pick them off 😛 Was happy to see a mile 1 split of 7:17…wheeee!!! Of course I didn’t even realize how much downhill that mile was. (FYI-I used the autosplits on Mr. Garmin since the mile markers were all for the 10-mile runners and may not be totally accurate for the relay.) Happiness was short-lived with the evil hill in mile 2 (the one that is mile 11 of the Brooklyn Half)…dear god that was like mountain climbing. And my 8:09 split showed it-was a bit disappointed at that, I thought hill or no hill, it should have been under 8. And the hill just kept going in mile 3 for another half-mile…til there was finally some downhill relief. 7:41 for mile 3 was a little better, but just wanted to be done. Finally, I could see the relay area…meaning the turn to the finish line!! I heard some very welcome cheering, and I kicked hard to the finish. Around 25:40 for me, 1:16:48 for our team (12th out of 27 female teams!)

I caught up with some other Flyers, including fellow bloggers jb24 and Laminator, who both had great 10-mile races!! A bunch of us went to brunch at this great place in Park Slope that had a great breakfast buffet…yummy fresh waffles and unlimited Bellinis? Me likey 🙂 A long, leisurely brunch was followed by a subway ride back to Manhattan and a much-needed nap.

I’m definitely up for doing this race next year-and Flyers…if you are reading, I strongly encourage you to consider doing the relay next year-it really is a lot of fun. Besides, I’d rather save my 10-mile attempt for when I don’t have to do the evil Prospect Park hill times 3. As for my performance…not my best, not my worst. I wanted to know where I was at, and I found out that I have my work cut out for me if I want to have a decent race at Cherry Blossom.

And dear god-do I need hill training.

dress rehearsal? literally.

Thank god for 18 weeks of training…plenty of time to make mistakes, and learn from them. And swear to not do the same thing on marathon day. And for me today-that would be running attire.

Today was the NYCM Tune-Up 18 miler. Unlike 2 years ago, I resolved to really, really hold back and not race this thing. And for the most part, that was the case. My plan was to run 2 miles beforehand, making this 20 for the day.

Attire was the red Flyer singlet (with 93% humidity, you can bet the white one would not be a smart choice today!) and my red and black RunningSkirt-was a dress rehearsal to see if I could possibly wear it in the marathon. But during my 2-mile warmup, I noticed the skirt kept slipping down and it was getting annoying…like the waistband was stretched out or something. I didn’t really have time to go home and change, so I took the 2 bottom safety pins off of my bib and tried to fix it. Seemed to do the trick…but little did I know, it was only a quick fix…

So when I got to the start, I looked for Runner26, as we planned to run together for a little bit. Didn’t see her…so I went to the corrals to line up-actually went a corral back and the person policing the corrals said that “you can move up if you want.” I said that was OK, as I was not racing this thing. I then saw Runner26 and actually, I was lined up in the corral she was supposed to be in, so it was all good. The conditions were crappy and humid, but that just solidified our plan to be conservative and just have fun…

…which we did!! The first few miles were pretty easy, we saw other Flyers we knew, including DG, who joined us in mile 4…and commented on the fact that my skirt was again slipping down :-p Yeah, I kept having to pull it up. And it was getting annoying. So annoying, in fact, that I went a little ahead of Runner26 and DG in mile 5 up Cat Hill, and they waved me on ahead (I knew they’d be fine running together)…I just wanted to finish this as quick as possible without it turning into a race effort. So I just flipped on the iPod and settled into my normal long run pace. The legs were fine, I slowed for gel/water/Gatorade when I needed it, but my god, the damn skirt was annoying…my arms were tired of always having to pull it up, and I felt bad for anyone running behind me. On the other hand, maybe it prevented me from running too fast 🙂

With 4 miles to go, I was so ready for this to be over. So I picked it up to around 9 minute pace for the last 4, with a strong last mile. Finished in 2:47:41-9:18 pace…which is exactly where my long run pace should be so mission accomplished 🙂 Forget 2 weeks ago, now I have never been so glad to be done with a 20-miler in my life!!

The tale of the splits:

Honestly-if the only bad part of this run was a “wardrobe malfunction” and not the legs or feeling like bonking, I’ll take it. And was proud of myself to have shown restraint this time 🙂

So 2 more weeks to go before it’s taper time!! My 2 heaviest mileage weeks…includes 15 miles next weekend, my last 20-miler the weekend after, and lotsa weekday mileage and having to fit it in with the Jewish holidays (at least Yom Kippur is not before a long run this year!)

And as for marathon day attire-I’ve decided I will repeat my outfit from the Philly Distance Run…hey-if it ain’t broke… 🙂

Also on the topic of marathons-can’t believe the WR went down again!! Unreal…

the mid-season report card

As of today, I’m halfway done with NYCM training…9 weeks down, 9 to go!! And since they evaluate during the All-Star break in baseball, makes sense for me to do the same, right? 🙂

So honestly…compared to 2 years ago, this first half of training has been surprisingly drama-free!! 2 good races that basically told me that I was on track. No injuries-thank god. If my only complaint was running in heat and humidity, I’ll take it. Only regret was that I really had to do a lot of runs solo. I’d like companionship if possible, but for the most part, if I tried to run with a group, I’d be struggling to keep up-at the expense of my own training. Kinda sucks, but what are you gonna do.

One thing that I had this time that I didn’t 2 years ago was, of course, Mr. Garmin 🙂 And he has proved to be quite helpful so far…especially his accompanying heart rate monitor. Yes, I think that has really made a positive change to how I train-really has helped me keep easy runs easy, and determine what my correct tempo zone is…and the fact that my hopeful marathon pace falls in the easy zone is encouraging 🙂 But I think the result of that is that the training hasn’t really tired me out yet…I’ve done three 40-mile weeks so far and felt fine. Back in 2006, 40-mile weeks just wiped me out. I have kept up the cross-training twice a week too…so far so good.

So…9 more weeks to go!! Which includes six more weeks of hard work-including three 20-milers (thankfully, none on consecutive weekends this year!), a half-marathon, and lotsa marathon pace work. Unfortunately I am getting to the point in my training where I feel like eating everything in sight…which for me, is not a good thing. I’m really gonna have to try and keep that in check-and the end of September is gonna be tough between the Jewish holidays (read: mom’s good cooking) and my b-day (read: cupcakes in abundance)…if I can get through that unscathed, I will be happy. (though if I could still lose a few pounds between now and 11/2, I wouldn’t cry or anything.)

As for the Philly Distance Run…I’m gonna kinda sorta use that as my predictor-weather permitting (if it’s a hot day, of course I am gonna adjust.) Whatever time I wind up with if I’m able to race it all-out, I will add 10 minutes to whatever the McMillan calculator predicts…figure that’s the safest bet. So to be on track for sub-3:50…that pretty much means running sub-8 pace for the half which I think, in the right conditions I can do. Of course, I’d love to run under 1:43 and get rid of that old half-marathon PR. And my Broad Street time predicts 1:42:55 for a half…so hey, who knows, it may be possible. 🙂 (My highest mileage week for Broad Street was 27 mpw-just for reference sake…)

my tri-boro/tri-bridge long runMarathon pace!! As mentioned before, I will need to make sure 8:45s feel like a cakewalk by November 2nd. I do plan to do some tempo runs that have some MP miles, and try and end some longer runs with some MP miles…I will be doing the 18-mile tune-up and Grete’s Great Gallop as training runs…and use the multiple loops to work on pacing (first slow, next pick it up a little, final loop at MP.) But I am really gonna have to work on keeping things in check for the first loop…no doing 8:50 pace like I did in the Tune-Up in 2006.

So there you have it-I got my work cut out for me for the next 6 weeks…then I can relax a little before the big day!

And I kept up the dress-rehearsing this weekend…my long run was 18-and-change miles that included 3 boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) and 3 bridges (Williamsburg, Pulaski, Queensboro)…my point was to try and hit the last 2 bridges with mileage on my legs to sorta mimic the marathon. And boy the Queensboro Bridge felt tough this time…legs were definitely tired. Then again, I did do the run in the afternoon…so the heat of the day didn’t exactly help matters 🙂 But still, I hope I do not feel like that on 11/2…

And I wore my new RunningSkirt for this run and it felt pretty good…I don’t think I’ve ever worn a skirt for this long a run before. I am seriously considering wearing a skirt in the marathon…we shall see 🙂

terrific tuesday tidbits

First tidbit is that this is my 500th blog post!! Yep, 500 posts in less than 3 years. And 6 1/2 months to get from 400 to 500 posts. Yes, I do need a life.

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As always, I get a SkirtSports discount code when I really don’t need to buy any more skirts. (but maybe I should try the running dress…do I really need it though?) I’m amused at the fact that it’s a 23% discount…here’s their explanation:

Why 23? Here are a few good-as-gold Olympic reasons…
The number of seconds it would take Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt to run 1 mile.
The combined ages of China’s women’s gymnastics team members.
The number of times President Bush actually thought about slapping Misty May-Treanor on her bikinied butt instead of the small of her back.
The number of hurdles Lori “Lolo” Jones could knock down and still look smokin’ HOT doing it.
The number of Olympics Dara Torres will compete in before she finally gets tired.
The number of Olympic gold medals Michael Phelps will win in London 2012.

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Season 4 of The Hills is underway and hasn’t disappointed yet! (The season started at the perfect time…now I have something to occupy my TV time on Monday nights again!) Happy to see all the drama is back. Anyone who is just starting to watch and needs a refresher of the previous 3 seasons…here is one, courtesy of my brother (who I think missed his calling as a celebrity blogger…)

“LC is mad at Audrina because Audrina was mad at Lo for making her hang out less with her, after LC was mad at Heidi, so she spent more time with Audrina after she moved in, but then spent less time with Audrina after Lo moved it because Audrina and Lo don’t get along well, and now Audrina is talking to Heidi because she’s mad at LC, even though she doesn’t like Spencer, who doesn’t like LC, even though LC is friend’s with Spencer’s sister, making Spencer and Heidi mad at Spencer’s sister for being friends with LC, even if Spencer’s sister used to not like LC because LC didn’t like Spencer, and Spencer is mad at Brody because Brody is friends with LC, but LC is still mad that Brody won’t settle down with her, and because Brody hooked up with Jen Bunny, thus making LC mad at Jen Bunny, so Jen Bunny be-friended Heidi, but then didn’t like Heidi because she told lies about LC….”

Trash TV. Gotta love it.

this ain’t no running town

So, any of the long run options with the Flyers this morning were way too early for my liking (as yours truly needed to sleep off more than her share of appletinis and vodka tonics…) But, I figured since this was the last weekend of the Summer Streets…running to City Hall and back would be just perfect for my long run, and all I have to do is be done (at least with the streets) by 1 pm…easy enough, right?

Well, that’s how it started off…but as I turned onto Park Avenue from 72nd street (and saw Johnny running the other direction!)…I noticed that things seemed a little different from 2 weeks ago, and it became more evident the further south I ran. Maybe it was the later hour…but it looked like a lot more cross-streets were open to traffic, and there were a lot more bikes out. And it’s weird…but as a runner, I kinda felt like I was in the minority…the bikers had the designated “fast lane”, the walkers the designated “slow lane”…where’s a runner to go?

It got worse once I got all the way to the end, and then added on an out-and-back over the Brooklyn Bridge to get my hill work in 🙂 Again, there was a bike lane, and the pedestrian lane was filled with people walking 4-5 abreast…I swear, I never had to yell out “on your left” or “on your right” so much. And I got yelled at for being in the bike lane…well sorry, but where was I supposed to go-instead of yelling at me, yell at the walkers for taking up the entire lane, so I don’t have to edge into the bike lane!

Couldn’t believe I was saying this, but I was actually relieved when I wound up back at the park. Maybe the “Summer Streets” novelty wore off…but I felt today, NYC was a biker and walker-friendly city…but runner-friendly? No way…we were like the forgotten group or something. (Yeah, I coulda dragged myself out of bed and joined NYRR at 7:30 downtown…but again, I needed beauty sleep 🙂 ) But whatever, it was what it was…14.7 more miles under my belt. Had to GMap this one, as Mr. Garmin freaked out yet again near Grand Central…saw the distance move backwards more than once!!

In other news, I got my free skirt in the mail today!! Not only did I get this cute pink skirt, but they threw in a free tank top (which says on the back “you’ve been passed by a skirt!”) too!! Thanks again to the ladies at RunningSkirts.com-this was definitely a nice treat!

And tonite will be the USA’s last chance for a track and field medal…the men’s marathon!! Go Ryan, Ritz and Brian!! (though I know Ryan is the best medal hope!)