Saturday, September 24, 2011

The 5th Avenue Mile: mile long races are actually fun! (RR)

Background: I somehow managed to avoid doing any timed miles in PE class over the years, so I went into this race with no idea of what to expect. The fastest I had done a mile was at 7:43 during speed training. Based on my HM time, McMillan told me I would finish a mile in 7:37 or so. I didn't know how accurate predicting a mile time based on a HM time was, but I figured that I would be happy with anything below 7:45

Race Day: I had 11 miles on tap for today, so I figured that I would complete 3-4 before the race, and do the remainding mileage afterwards. It was very humid out, so after 3 miles I headed over to the race. I missed heat #1 (media people) but I got there in time to see the lone person in the wheelchair/handicycle division take off. Heat #3 lined up (8-14 year olds of both genders) and my heat got ready to go right behind them (15-29 year old females). As soon as the kids took off, we lined off in the starting area. It was one big corral, so I wasn't quite sure where to line up, so I got towards the back so that I wouldn't be trampled on.

Race: And we're off! The first few seconds were a bit cramped, but I quickly settled into a groove. But then disaster strikes - my left shoelace decided to come undone 100 meters into the race. . Since stopping wasn't an option, I kept going and hoped that I wouldn't trip. Since the field was spread out, no one was close enough to me to be tripped.

Running down 5th avenue was such a treat, and it was something that few New Yorkers ever get to do (without risking being run over)! I started off very strongly - about 1/4 of a mile in I was on course for a sub-7 minute mile. Then we hit a hill that lasted almost until the halfway point - the avenue never seemed this hilly before! I recovered quickly but I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep a sub-7 pace for the whole mile. Still, I gave it my all, and pushed as hard as I could to the finish. I crossed the line before the gun time said 7:15

Result: Official time was 7:04! Much better than I could have hoped for. My AG percentage was a 59.4% - my highest yet!

After my race was over, I ran a few miles and then came back to watch my friend compete. Overall, it was an amazing experience. I learned a few valuable lessons along the way:

1. A mile race can be at least as difficult as an HM to do correctly (if not more so!)
2. Retie the shoelaces before starting just in case
3. Warm-Up miles are crucial, but they become less effective when you have to stand in your heat for a long time

Unfortuantely I have no pictures of the actual race - I didn't take my phone with me. I just took one of me afterwards before I changed. If I get any brightroom pictures I will update. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reflections on a Juggling Act

I have been very spoiled this summer. Since I was on vacation from school, I was able to increase my mileage and still get to bed early enough in order to get enough sleep at night. I was actually able to fit in a social life, and it was a very fun experience. I also played my instrument with my pops group a few times as well, and got a bit of practice time in.

However, all of that ended last week when I started school again. Getting enough sleep to wake up for morning runs between 4-8 miles during the week has been much more difficult now that I can't get to bed before 11pm at least two nights a week. In addition, I will be starting up Wind Ensemble next week, meaning that I will be out late three nights during the week.

This wasn't as much of an issue last year simply because as a newer runner, I wasn't as dedicated, and I did maybe 20 miles per week at most. Now, I am following a training plan for a half marathon in October that averages close to 30 miles per week, and it is much harder to make up runs if I miss it. Even without factoring in a social life, my schedule is looking pretty daunting, especially since both of my classes are reading and writing intensive.

So this brings me to the question of the day - have I bitten off more than I can chew? I pride myself on being the girl who can "do it all", but when is it time to say that something has to give? If it's too much, what has to give?

I'll have a lot to think about over the next couple of weeks, but I will do everything I can to keep all of the balls in the air. Hopefully my time management skills will be up to the task.

Which brings me to wonder - how does everyone else juggle all of the things going on in their lives?