Monday, May 30, 2011

Cross-training and New Runner Swag

Over the last couple of weeks, I started to incorporate some cross training into my exercise routine.

I have really slacked off in terms of the gym department over the last six months, but now I have gone back and have began to incorporate the elliptical and the bike in.

My parents and I also have a 30 mile bike ride scheduled at the end of June, so this weekend, I biked 13 miles with my mother. My dad did 6 miles with us before the call of the golf course was too loud to ignore. Yesterday's experience proved to me how much in shape I had gotten in - I had never done 13 miles at a time on these hills and now I was able to do it with ease even though I had not gone biking in almost a year.

Today, I bought some new running clothing using a gift certificate I had received for my birthday. I ended up spending more than the gift certificate, but it was definitely worth it.

This week is the first week of my half marathon training plan for Queens. I'm a bit nervous about it since I have never done speedwork or tempo runs, and that several of my runs will be in extremely hot and humid weather, but I will do my best!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ocean Parkway Kicked My Butt: The Brooklyn Half Marathon Race Report

The Brooklyn half marathon took place on the exact six month anniversary of my first race (Race to Deliver) and not long after my sixth month running anniversary. Going into this, I had three possible goals for this race:

A) Complete the half in under two hours
B) If I'm unable to do that, then complete it in under 2:05
C) If I can't do A or B, finish the half in one piece.

The night before, I had capellini with tomato sauce and onions, and it was very tasty. I made sure to get to bed by 9pm, although I probably didn't fall asleep for about 1/2 hour. I was so worried that I wouldn't wake up that I set about 10 different alarms on my cell phone, plus I plugged in my own alarm clock for the first time in a year and set up two alarms on that.

The next morning, I woke up around 4am, got my stuff together, and went to CVS to buy some water and post-race snacks (popcorn and pretzels). I then set out to meet some NYRR people that I had gotten in touch with through facebook at the subway. The trains were on schedule, and I got to the start without a hitch.

After using a porta potty, I met up with my friends Abbey and Rachel at baggage, and we used the porta potty one more time before going to the start. We also ran into Kat, Rachel, and a few other running friends before starting the race.

After making sure my Garmin was working, we started the race. It took us about four minutes to cross the start, and then we were off! My Garmin was off by about 0.12 miles, but you can still look at my splits here.

The two loops through Prospect Park were really fun. I stayed with Abbey for that entire section. Our plan was to do 9mm through that part, and although we went a little faster than planned, I felt great the entire time. After our first loop, we saw the leaders finishing their second loop, which was very inspiring.

I had the idea that things would be easier once we left the hills of Prospect Park, but for me, it was the complete opposite. I fell back behind Abbey sometime around mile 8, and at first, I was fine, but then, I faced something that my worst enemy when it comes to running: the extreme humidity. As anyone could see by my Garmin splits, the humidity of Ocean Parkway, plus the complete monotony of it, got to me very quickly. I had a decent mile 8, but it felt much harder to maintain my 9mm pace. By the time I finished mile 9, I knew that a sub-2 finish was very unlikely. My legs were fine, but breathing was much harder than it had been.

The next four miles were the hardest ones I have ever run, and that includes my 10K the previous weekend when I was under the weather. I had to walk through the water stations at miles 10-12 just so I was able to finish. After mile 12, I forced myself to run the rest of the way, and I did pick it up a little towards the end once I realized that my B goal was still well within reach. As I went up that small incline to the parkway, I saw my friend Gary when he called out to me - he was volunteering as a finish marshall. I crossed the 13 mile mark just after I hit the 2 hour mark, and managed to force myself to run what felt like the longest 0.1 miles in my life.

Thankfully, I finished, although I could barely walk for a couple of minutes. I knew that since I was close to breaking two hours, then Abbey must have definitely done so. After finding Abbey and Rachel in the baggage area, as well as several other running friends, I was happy to hear that Abbey got her sub-2 hour finish. Rachel had a tough race since she got sick, but despite that, she pulled through and finished her race, which really impressed me.

I saw Gary briefly as Abbey and I walked to the train, but he was helping someone get to the finish, which was really nice of him, and we just wanted to get home ASAP. After all, I had a album recording to get to that afternoon! (Yes, my day was insanely busy!)

You can find the pictures in my 2011 Race Album

My official time for the race was 2:01:50, which is a 9:18mm. It would have been nice to do a sub-2 debut half marathon, but I'm going to focus on the positive. Not only have I finished my first half marathon, but....


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Brooklyn Travel Arrangements

This post is for everyone who expressed interest in traveling with me to Brooklyn - if anyone has any questions, feel free to comment here or message me on facebook.

To be on the safe side, let's meet right next to the turnstile inside the downtown 4/5/6 station at 86th and Lexington at 4:55 (right near the agent booth). At 5:00am, we will all swipe in and walk towards the back of the train since we are meeting Alice in the last car. Since the 4 train is running local, it should come on the top platform but we will keep an eye on both the Upper and Lower platforms just in case. For everyone getting on at a different station, here is the 4 train schedule - see the Saturday Service Southbound train that leaves the Woodlawn station at 4:35am to figure out the best time to catch the train.

From there we'll have a few minutes to transfer to the Q train (see schedule here). We hope to get the train at around 5:23am - the train leaves 57th and 7th at 5:16 if you want to look it up on the schedule. We'll take this train to Parkside (unless people think that the Prospect Park stop is closer).

Ultimately, we should be at Parkside by 5:45am and at the start by 6am. Not that I completely trust the MTA, but if the trains are a little late, we will have a little leeway.

If you see any flaws in my schedule/logic, please correct me :-)

If you can't find us on Saturday, my phone information is in my facebook profile - please friend me on facebook if you haven't already so that you can see this information. I'll keep checking the mta website for any service changes, but otherwise, I'm hoping for the best. I'll see you all Saturday morning!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Healthy Kidney 10K Race Report

This past Saturday, I ran the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K in Central Park. I never intended to go for a PR, but I did not expect to feel as badly as I did.

I started out with a friend, but as I expected, she pulled ahead of me almost immediately. We were also supposed to meet my friend Abbey, but we couldn't find each other at the start. I completed mile 1 in exactly 9 minutes, which is not a fast pace for me, but shortly afterwards I knew I was in trouble. I started to feel light headed and my legs felt like lead. I usually am very agressive/impatient and try to get around as many people as possible, so I knew things were bad when I didn't even want to bother trying.

Miles 2 & 3 were both done in around 9:30. I probably should have stopped for water, but I was worried that if I stopped, I wouldn't be able to get moving again, so I kept going. Then, miraculously, I caught a familiar face just up ahead of me. Hi Abbey!!!!! She had been running steady 9mm the whole time and had caught up to me. At the time, I was confused as to why she insisted that we were holding 9mm the entire time when my watch said otherwise, but now I realized that she crossed the start line after I did.

Thanks to Abbey's encouragement, we manage to stick to 9mm for the remainder for the race, and we even pushed it slightly at the very end, but it took everything I had. I was shaking at the end of the race, and the post run bagel / water was desperately needed.

I ended up finishing in 57:08 (9:12mm). If I had done this race before Scotland Run, I would have been very happy with this time, but since I PRd at Scotland with a 54:55, this was a dissapointing experience in comparison. On the other hand, I am proud of myself for pushing through and not DNFing (which I had thought about several times over the first few miles). Also, I ended up with a negative split, so there's another plus.

Now it's time to look forward to the Brooklyn Half Saturday! I am trying to convince myself that finishing is the important thing, but a part of me knows that if I don't finish under 2 hours, I will be a little dissapointed with myself. We'll see what happens!

Monday, May 16, 2011

My new blog!

Hi everyone,

I have been running for six months, and now that I have celebrated my 25th birthday, I will now chronicle my first full year as a runner. I plan on running NYC 2012, which will approximately mark my two year anniversary as a runner.

I have been inspired to start a running blog to replace my countless facebook runkeeper posts. I hope you enjoy it! Here is some background information about where I am in my running.

Here are the list of races I have completed so far towards my 9+1 (and times)

1. December 31, 2010: Emerald Nuts Midnight Run (4M) (40:32 / 10:08mm)
2. January 8, 2011: NYRR Fred Lebow Classic (5M) (45:38 / 9:07mm)
3. February 6, 2011: NYRR Gridiron 4M (35:45 / 8:56mm)
4. March 6, 2011: Coogan's Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K (27:26 / 8:50mm)
5. March 27, 2011: New York Colon Cancer Challenge (15K ) (1:23:21 / 8:57mm)
6. April 10, 2011: Scotland Run (10K) (54:55 / 8:51mm)
7. April 23, 2011: NYRR 4 Mile (4M) (33:33 / 8:23mm)
8. May 14, 2011: UAE Healthy Kidney 10K (57:08 / 9:12mm)

Race report for the Healthy Kidney to come shortly!

I am currently preparing for my first half marathon this weekend. My goal is sub-2, but we'll see how everything goes!