running year 2011: a tale of two halves

Well it being New Year’s Eve, it’s of course time for the obligatory “running year in review” post.  And when I say that 2011 was truly a tale of 2 halves, I don’t mean half-marathons, as much as halves of the year…

First half of 2011 was kinda lackluster.  I don’t know if it was the brutal winter, or burnout after the 2010 Chicago marathon, or indifference in general…but not a lot of running was happening the first coupla months of the year.  Or maybe some of it was feeling “in limbo.”  Couldn’t make any race plans til I knew what was going on with the Boston qualifying standards (I need plans to keep me focused!), I was the midst of exploring other groups to do speedwork with (there’s something about having groups like that to keep you honest!)  My slowest 5K in years, in addition to just barely getting under 8-minute pace for one 3.3 mile loop of Prospect Park in the Cherry Tree Relay…yeah, kinda the low points, showed how far I slid down.

Took the steps in March to hopefully get my groove back, thanks to twice-weekly speedwork sessions with WBTC (which other Flyer teammates were already a part of) and Coach T (who was a big part in my running successes this year), including the very fun-yet-crowded track nights.  Getting the speed back was definitely a slow process, but it looked like by June something was kicking in, as I ran my 2nd fastest 10K at the Mini 10K-after indulging in some Blue Moons with coworkers the night before 🙂

By the 2nd half of the year, when training for the NYC Marathon would start, looked like not only was I where I was in 2009-2010, but surpassed it, which kinda validated my current training choice 🙂  Hit 4-mile and 5-mile PRs, 2 strong half marathons while in the thick of training…unfortunately the marathon did not go my way but still finished 2011 on a good note with an age group award in a 5K (and I have not gotten an AG award since 2004!) and a 15K PR.

So thankfully the year ended on a better note than the last 2 🙂  If I had to grade the year, I’d probably give it a B…maybe B+, as I “failed” my “final exam” I don’t deserve an A 😛

That said, at least one thing I learned from how badly the marathon went was that I’m not a quitter…even though the going got rough, I did what I had to do to still salvage a sub-4.  So I can put that worry to rest…

I’ll address 2012 in another post…but as of now the big ones are a certain marathon in April, and then I just found out this week that I got into the NYC Half!  (yes I’m aware how much it cost, I don’t want to hear it.)  Training through the winter will be a challenge in itself, but I think I’m ready to hit the ground running in 2012…literally!

Happy New Year everyone…

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2010 in review, bloggy-style

For shits and giggles…

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 111 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 776 posts. There were 191 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 26mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 18th with 206 views. (hmmm, what crazy event happened on October 18th, I wonder?)  The most popular post that day was chi-town…one week later.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were nyflygirl.blogspot.com, blogger.com, peanutbutter55.blogspot.com, Google Reader, and marathon26.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for training hard hardly training, nyflygirl, training hard,hardly training, kevinrunningfree, and nyflygirl blog.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

chi-town…one week later October 2010
10 comments

2

About Me January 2010
1 comment

3

My PR’s January 2010
1 comment

4

Race Reports January 2010

5

was it all for nothing? October 2010
11 comments

running year 2010: the year of hot pink

well yeah.  I guess 2010 should be better known for my running apparel and accessory choices rather than actual running performances.  Obviously, I’m not too happy with how 2010 went.

I guess I will revisit what I wrote at the end of last year to be my 2010 goals and how I did….

So I’m a little hesitant to make concrete goals right now for 2010.  Except for the obvious-getting this (sh)IT band healed and to become a real runner again.  I do hope to run a half-marathon in May…and intend to get my revenge on the marathon distance in October, but those are not set in stone just yet.  I guess most of all, I really need to figure out what went wrong last year and make sure it doesn’t happen again.  Additionally, once I am healed enough to do speedwork, I intend to seek out a new group to do speedwork with…I think it’s pretty obvious I can’t-or shouldn’t-be doing this on my own.  And I know I can benefit from the guidance that coached workouts can give.  So will need to research that…

Well the (sh)IT band did get healed and thankfully stayed quiet ever since.  And I ran the Brooklyn Half in May.  And actually completed a marathon.  And found a different group to do speedwork with-even though I like the people a lot, I’m still not convinced it’s the perfect fit for me.

Why?  Well in a way, I feel like I took a step backwards this year.  Take a look at my season bests this year versus last year:

  2009 2010
5K 22:25 22:48
5M 36:49 37:36
10K 47:27* 47:53
Half-marathon 1:37:36 1:42:27
*My 10K split in the Philly distance run was 46:29-so that unofficially would be my best 10K time in 2009.

And I thought 2010 started off well…with an unexpected 8-second PR in the 4-miler and a halfway decent time in the Brooklyn Half.  But after that…the 2nd half of the year seemed to go downhill.  And I really don’t know if I can blame it on the heat.  Even in a way, I don’t feel my marathon time was much of an improvement-a 3:43 time on a flat course (Chicago) I think was actually a lesser performance than my 3:44 in NYC, as NYC was a (notoriously) much harder course.

Plus mentally, I still don’t feel like I’ve “recovered” from my DNF at MCM 2009…like it’s going to haunt me forever.  Like I forever have scarlet letters on my chest saying “quitter.”  Even though I didn’t quit my marathon this year, even with the weather being what it was, the damage from 2009 has still been done and I can’t take it back.  It seems, from what I’ve seen others say, that a DNF is nothing but weakness, regardless of the circumstances.

So.  Next year.  Unfortunately I can’t make any goals for 2011 right now, as all my racing plans are in flux until I find out what the deal is with the Boston 2012 qualifying standards (hopefully they will be true to their word and let us know in January?)  As whether or not my time will still be good in 2012 affects how I will train, what races I will do in 2011, etc.  And probably still will be on the search for better coaching…still felt in a way like I was going about this on my own.  Either way, I know I desperately need to GET FASTER.  I am so sick of being slow…I’d love to get my “easy” pace to at least 8:30s so I don’t have to worry about being dropped on group runs…tired of always having to run solo.

And once again, I have no idea how to go about any of this…

a devil of a decade

Well first off, this is post #666 for me.  Hence the devil reference in the post title 🙂  No, I’m not saying I’m the devil…hahahaha.

So I’m watching “I Love the New Millennium” on VH1 right now…2000 was previously on, now this hour showcases 2001.  (Update since I started writing-now it’s on 2003!  Boy this post took a long time to write…)  Holy shit-are we really on the edge of a new decade?  Was it really 10 years ago that we were all freaking out about the Y2K bug and thinking the world will come to an end on January 1, 2000? 😛  (funniest memory from that-my dad “stocking up” on 5 gallons of bottled water since apparently the Y2K bug would cause a lack of drinking water…oh the things people believed!)

Man-so much has happened this decade…if I thought 2009 was an emotional rollercoaster of sorts…well the whole decade was like the Great American Scream Machine or something like that 🙂  And since VH1 is looking back…I kinda feel like doing the same.

2000-my biggest memory of this year was breaking up with my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years…which as a lot of you long-time readers know, was someone everyone expected me to marry.  But no matter how great someone may be on paper, if you grow apart and become different people during that time…staying togehter for the sake of others can never result in anything good.  So for the first time in 5 years, I was single and it was really tough…partially because most of my friends were in relationships, but also partially because I was still living at home…

2001-fell in love, only to wind up getting played.  Moved on out of the parentals house and into the city.  9/11.  Seeing how the fallout from that brought out the good in people, but also brought out the bad in other people.  We were in a changed world, no matter how you looked at it.

2002-I think this year was officially the low point of the decade for me.  Still hurting from said 2001 player.  Dealt with some cash flow issues.  A friend of my brother…well, I will not go into detail about what he tried to do to me, but let’s just say as a result of it, my brother terminated that friendship immediately.  Not one, but two roommate changes-and anyone in NYC knows how stressful it is finding a roommate!  Got laid off from my job…but thankfully I did find a new one and was only unemployed for 6 weeks.

2003-anyone else remember the blackout?  the day of my baby brother’s b-day no less…original plan was to head to NJ for a b-day dinner right after work, instead we spent it grabbing beers from some of the 3rd Ave bars and him crashing at my place.  And thanking my lucky stars that I was still living in midtown then instead of uptown…yep, 2 weeks later I had moved into my little studio apartment on the UWS.  Can’t tell you how good it felt to not have to deal with roommates.

2004-the running year, so to say.  Joined NYRR, joined the Flyers, opened up a whole new world for me.  Maybe this year was a turning point of sorts?

2005-learned and appreciated how tough it is to plan social events in NYC, thanks to my stint as Flyers’ social chair 🙂  Was hoping to run my first marathon-NYC-this year, but a month into the training, a bad case of plantar fasciitis stopped me in my tracks, so to say.  And believe me, recovery was a bitch and then some 🙂  And oh yeah…I discovered this little thing called blogging and thought I’d try it 😉

2006-busy year, I remember.  Had a Flyers exec board position-Member at Large.  And let me tell you, it really made me feel good that my teammates felt I was the best one for the job.  What a difference from 10 years before-when I kept getting shot down for positions on my sorority’s exec board…i was too new, i was too shy, whatever, there was some excuse.  Met a lot more people in the running community…partially through this blogging thang 😉 and partially because one of my goals as MAL was to enhance relations between us and other clubs…with “mixer” happy hours, post-race softball games and other things.  Hit the big 3-0 this year…yikes 😛 Work kicked me in the ass this year, partially due to one project from hell, partially because we were down one man and it took over a year to find a replacement!  But despite all that, I did finally run my first marathon…and broke 4 hours 🙂

2007-I think I was mentally in hibernation for a good portion of the first half of the year…yeah, work was still kicking me in the ass.  Just seemed to affect everything…my relationships, my running, as well as other things.   Things did get a little better through the spring and summer though.  Took my first real vacation in a very long time-to San Francisco…ran a half-marathon there and totally fell in love with the city…hmmm, could I maybe see myself living there someday, who knows.  (Or maybe I really needed a vacation and anything would have seemed good!)  Had my first serious relationship in years…which didn’t end on the best of terms.  Learned 2 things-a significant other must respect my friends and if I need my space after said breakup, that needs to be respected too if there is to be any chance at a friendship.

2008-is it me or did this seem like the year of Facebook?  Almost every day, a new friend request, quiz invite and my personal favorite-the “SuperPoke” 😛  Halfway through the year, got a taste of what the state of the economy would be as we were told at work that “2008 is turning into a very tough year” and that certain big events would be canceled in order to make budget, that we’d have to do without some “nice to haves”.  Running-wise, 2008 started off with a calf injury, I recovered from it and it did turn out to be my best running year in 4 years…ran 3:44 in NYCM and got goals in shorter distances that I had been chasing after for years.

2009-And so it brings us to this year.  Early months were kinda rough…close relative (my uncle) passed away…round of layoffs at work which thankfully I dodged that bullet, but me and others wound up absorbing a lot more work as a result…but at that point, just grateful to have a job.  Was vice president of the Flyers this year. The Yankees won their first World Series in 9 years!! Running-wise, was on track to have my best year yet…and it looked like not only was a BQ marathon in reach, but 3:40 was setting the bar too low.  But was stopped in my tracks at mile 21 of the Marine Corps Marathon with the infamous (sh)IT band injury.  As I said before, I am happy for the good running moments, just wish the year hadn’t ended on such a bad note.  Was in 2 serious relationships this year…and I am grateful to still be friends with both of them.  Especially the latter…us getting together did cause me to lose a friend, but I feel I got a much better one as a result.  I never thought I’d be able to just hang out with an ex over a few beers and just enjoy ourselves…but we can and we do…someone I’m very happy to have had in my life this year…and in future years too 😉

So I’m reading over this now and thinking wow…can’t believe how much has happened in 10 years.  Even though I have said 2009 was a rough year, I will say that at the very least, this decade did end better than it started.  And have I learned anything?  Well I guess so…

Work-I felt like i worked away my 20s and don’t want to do the same with my 30s…in my early years I put in the time because I thought it would get me more money, more power…yeah, at the time I did actually like my job…but by the end of the decade I learned that all the money in the world isn’t worth it if you’re not happy, don’t feel fulfilled, don’t feel like there is a good work-life balance.  Oh yeah-and getting involved with someone at work is definitely NOT the best idea!!

Love/relationships-and on that topic…well in the beginning of the decade, with a lot of my friends having the marriage bug, I kinda wanted the same…and I know I’ve felt like that for many years too.  But I’ve been thinking about this for a good part of this year.  First off, as I have mentioned before, I really don’t like dating.  It’s more…I feel like I’m putting on an act of sorts and it just gets exhausting.  I just want to be myself…and that was a sign that my last relationship was gonna have great potential, as I never once felt like I had to act, I could totally be myself.  And I honestly don’t care that people tell me that “dating means free dinner and drinks” or something to that effect.  Seriously, I will gladly pay for my own damn dinner and drinks if it means I’m with a guy I can feel comfortable with and be myself with and enjoy myself with.  And I know I’ve said plenty of times before that I want to get married but…well as James Marsden’s character said to Katherine Heigl’s character in 27 Dresses: “I think you want a wedding-not a marriage.”  I guess now I’m feeling the opposite…like it’s more the companionship I’m seeking out instead of the shiny rings and wedding.  I do have friends who are in permanently committed relationships but havent felt the need to get married…and they are just as happy as those who have “made it official.”  Maybe I’m not making sense here…but this is always a complex topic. 🙂

Well even though there are some things in my life that I do fell still need fixing…as I said before, this decade did end on a much better note than it started on…and I can only hope that will carry over into 2010.  As for tonight…I won’t be running at midnight, I won’t be smooching anybody at midnight, but I will be ringing in the new year with friends…just fun and no drama…all I can ask for.

So…long story short, I’m happy to be leaving this devil of a decade behind and can only hope for bigger and better things in the next year…or next 10 years…or more.

Happy New Year everyone!  Have fun, be safe…and talk to ya “next year”! 🙂

2009-not quite so fine

So yeah, figured I was due for one of those obligatory “running year in review” posts…

So first I guess I will revisit what I wrote at the end of last year to be my 2009 goals and how I did….

Continue to train smart. Meaning-no racing in January (that’s my “off-season!”), and when I do race, schedule things well (no over-racing.) Keep with the HRM on training runs, keep up the cross-training. If it ain’t broke…

I *thought* I did all that, but apparently not…as you will see later…

Have some fun with racing! I’ve already started that by signing up for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in April and just like last year, will explore other non-NYRR races. Especially now with the capping thing going on with the NYRR races…

Well here’s the tally…
non-NYRR=8 races
NYRR=5 races (2 of those 5 I actually used as training runs)

So I guess you can say I did that…

As of now-I do plan to try and knock 3 minutes and 15 seconds off my marathon time in the fall. This all will depend on the body holding up, and other circumstances allowing me the time to train, but as of now, that is the plan. Not sure where I will be going for it just yet, but definitely won’t be NYC, as I’d like to try a different (flatter) marathon…as of now, Marine Corps and Philly are the top contenders.

Well this is the big one.  I thought it could be possible, but in the end, turned out the body didn’t hold up.  And even now, it still stings.

You may say I’m being tough on myself, but I can’t say I’m satisfied with how 2009 went.  I mean yeah, I had a decent window of racing between June and September (I guess winter was the off-season and spring I wasn’t quite in shape yet) but I missed my most important goal…and as I said before, it kinda sucks to have my last memory of running this year being a DNF.  And maybe this has me concerned that if I quit a race once, will this become a habit in future races when the going gets tough?  (Though I will state for the record that even if my race report read like it, I did not give up once I realized the BQ was history.  I did give it all I had that day, it just sucked that my finish line was mile 21!)  Plus outside the racing arena, midway through my MCM training I had to go from coached speedwork with a group to being on my own…I don’t know if that was what caused things to go down at the end, but it probably didn’t help matters.

So I’m a little hesitant to make concrete goals right now for 2010.  Except for the obvious-getting this (sh)IT band healed and to become a real runner again.  I do hope to run a half-marathon in May…and intend to get my revenge on the marathon distance in October, but those are not set in stone just yet.  I guess most of all, I really need to figure out what went wrong last year and make sure it doesn’t happen again.  Additionally, once I am healed enough to do speedwork, I intend to seek out a new group to do speedwork with…I think it’s pretty obvious I can’t-or shouldn’t-be doing this on my own.  And I know I can benefit from the guidance that coached workouts can give.  So will need to research that…

So yeah-once again I have no clue how to go about any of this :-p  But ready or not…2010 is just around the corner.  Will I find the girl I once was…?

don’t call it a comeback

…I been here for years
Rockin my peers and puttin suckas in fear…

yeah, felt like quoting a little LL Cool J…sorta fits in a way…

Normally, I would do my year-end wrapup a week later, but my racing year is over and it’s a crappy weather day so why not 🙂

After a few frustrating years, I guess you can say 2008 was a comeback year in a way. Wouldn’t have guessed that would be the case back in January, when I got hit by the calf injury, but that was a blessing in disguise, as it indirectly made me change my training-incorporating more cross-training, having things not just be about mileage. And did that work…?

Well-I’ll revisit my year in review post from last year-and see the result of the 2008 goals…

“GET FASTER. this is the most important. i would like to just be able to complete one 6 mile loop of the park on a group run without getting dropped or begging people to slow down.”

ehhh…sort of. race times, yes. training runs, no. unfortunately, this doesn’t look to be easily solveable…as I really don’t want to race my training runs at the expense of my own training/racing. I keep my easy runs easy for a reason…

“sign up for the NYC marathon and run it-and hopefully better my 2006 time.”

check!! by 14 minutes.

“maybe a 10-mile race in the late spring, as i have never raced this distance before? (i’m eyeing Broad Street, perhaps…)”

check!! ran broad street in may, which was a very fun race-highly recommended!!

“look outside NYRR and Central Park for races (5ks, 10ks, halfs)-and just use NYRR races to get in my 9 marathon qualifiers and use them as training runs if need be. (races like the Mini 10K and Club Champs are the exception, as I can get a decent starting position and they are less crowded.)”

check!! the Broad Street Run. Philly Distance Run and Party With Purpose 5K (Hoboken.)

“PR in at least one distance. With the exception of distances I have only raced once, the majority of my PRs are 3 years old.”

major check!!
lifetime PRs in 4 distances (4 miles, 10K, half-marathon, marathon)
“submasters PRs”-and lifetime 2nd best-in 2 distances (5K, 5 miles)
unofficial PR in 10 miles (never did a 10-mile race before, my previous fastest 10 miles was the 10-mile split of an old half-marathon PR)
and I would have been happy with just one PR!! And even though I was glad to get the marathon PR, I felt the shorter distance ones were sweeter…maybe because I have been chasing after those longer?

So yeah-needless to say, I was pleased with how 2008 went. And I learned from past mistakes…I know now to quit while I am ahead, and that a little downtime never hurts 🙂

Looking ahead to 2009…here’s what is on my plate as of now:

  • Continue to train smart. Meaning-no racing in January (that’s my “off-season!”), and when I do race, schedule things well (no over-racing.) Keep with the HRM on training runs, keep up the cross-training. If it ain’t broke…
  • Have some fun with racing! I’ve already started that by signing up for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in April and just like last year, will explore other non-NYRR races. Especially now with the capping thing going on with the NYRR races…
  • As of now-I do plan to try and knock 3 minutes and 15 seconds off my marathon time in the fall. This all will depend on the body holding up, and other circumstances allowing me the time to train, but as of now, that is the plan. Not sure where I will be going for it just yet, but definitely won’t be NYC, as I’d like to try a different (flatter) marathon…as of now, Marine Corps and Philly are the top contenders.

Unlike previous years, at least I do have an idea as to how to go about all of this!! 🙂

my running year-the cliffs notes edition

Taking a tip from Johnny’s blog…This week’s topic from Take It and Run Thursday at the Runners Lounge is a summary of your running year in 52 words or less.

OK-I’ll play too 🙂

2008 started off with a calf injury…but I rehabbed well, ran smarter, and I came back. Stronger than before.
Four lifetime PR’s, two submaster PR’s, and a great first 10-mile race.
A marathon that exceeded my expectations.
To borrow from VH1…”Best (running) Year Ever!”

I do intend to have a more detailed wrap-up before the year is over though!! 🙂