Saturday, September 15, 2012

NYCM Week #8: A bike ride, a wedding, some major NYCM news, and oh yeah, some running

So, before I get into my training for the past week, I am happy to report that NYRR changed their mind on their baggage stance - instead, they gave people the option, to either check a bag and potentially take an hour to get out of the park, or to not check a bag, and receive a parka and an "exclusive" top from NYRR. While I will give NYRR the credit that is due.....they should have thought of this in the first place. 

However, that did not stop me from being excited about finding out my wave start and corral for the marathon! 

There are four waves total, and within each wave, there are three groups of corrals. (The corral chart can be found here) The orange and blue corrals start on the top level of the bridge, while my set of corrals start on the lower level. The marathon course for the three colors are divergent at the beginning, but all become parallel by mile 4, and merge completely by mile eight. I will be starting almost at the back of my wave, but I'm happy that I won't have to wait an extra half an hour like I feared that I would once I found out that there would be a four wave start instead of the traditional three

Now, back to my regularly scheduled training discussion....

As you may recall, last Monday was Labor Day. Usually, it's a complete day of rest for me, but instead, I decided to go on a challenging hilly bike ride with my mother. I usually only show the timing splits but I feel that the speed and elevation charts are interesting enough to show this time...

If only I could actually run this fast....
There were some challenging hills in this ride, plus I hadn't ridden my bike in longer than I cared to admit. Also, my legs were probably tired from marathon training. Still, the hills got done, and the major one I was most proud of was the one leading into my parent's community upstate. If you look at the elevation at the very end of that chart, you'll see that sudden spike. That would be Sedgewood Hill. That was only the second time I was able to get up that thing. 

Unfortunately, all good things had to come to an end, and that includes 3 day weekends. I had my tempo run scheduled, and when I first started out, I regretted my bike ride yesterday, as my legs felt sluggish. But the moment it was time to start speeding up, my legs pulled through. I averaged closer to HM than to 15K pace this time around. 

(I was slightly annoyed that one of my miles was two seconds outside my range, but that's because I'm me. This should not be a surprise to anyone)

I was very happy with my medium long run for a few reasons. My splits for 8 of the first 9 miles were fairly even (I was sluggish on mile 2 for whatever reason), and I was able to speed things up for mile 10. 

Although waking up at 5am isn't ideal, I have really come to enjoy getting out there before sunrise. Since there are other crazy people out there, I never feel alone, yet it is not crowded, so it feels so peaceful. 

Watching the sun rise is probably one of the coolest experiences, especially while running. One moment it's dark, and then just as you get lost in your thoughts, you notice all of the pretty colors in the sky. Totally worth it.


This run unintentionally sort of became a progression run. 

On a different note, I have started including fartleks of sorts towards the end of my runs. When I run the last half mile on the city streets, I have learned that I will almost always be stopped at some lights, so what I do is I run very fast from one stop light to the next, wait for the light to turn green, and repeat a few times.  It's a fun way to get speedwork in, especially if I am able to make it across the street before the light turns red. It's a nice rush that wakes me up in the morning. 

This is usually a rest day for me, but since I would be busy all day Sunday with my brother's wedding and would be in New Jersey, I decided to move the run to Friday.

I was a little slower than usual, but considering I hadn't had a rest day for almost a week, this was to be expected. I still felt relatively good

I wish I remembered more specifics about these runs, but the problem with getting to the blog entry so late in the next week is that these things slip away...

My long run on Saturday started off early, like usual. I was hoping to have a running buddy, but that didn't really work out, so I decided to do two extended loops of the park. The main loop is six miles, but I added a loop of the reservoir both times,  and for the first time, I added the Harlem Meer loop as well. Thankfully, my math seemed to be accurate this time.

For the first loop, my legs felt very sluggish, but I must have gotten some physical or psychological boost from knowing that I only had one more loop to go, because I suddenly started going faster than 10mm consistently. In fact, my last two miles were at marathon pace or below. Maybe it was because I wanted to get it over with, but I felt really good afterwards. 

Then again, the tiredness caught up with me at the rehearsal dinner that night. After getting back to the hotel, I collapsed and fell asleep right away. I don't even remember exactly what I said in my toast (which apparently was really amazing). 

Warning: The running part of my entry ends here. My total mileage for the week was my highest ever - 51.20 miles, and that doesn't include the bike ride. If you are not interested in reading about my brother's wedding, feel free to stop here. 

After almost a year from the day they got engaged, the big day finally arrived! I had gotten my hair blown out at the hotel the day before. Belle and I had to report to the bridal suite at 8am for hair and make-up. Belle deserves a huge kudos for flying to Spain and back in less than one week! The suite was on the executive floor, so we had to go to the lobby and get key card access to the elevator each and every time we wanted to get up there. Sigh.

I got my make-up done first, and it was the first time I ever had it done professionally. I even got false eyelashes and spray on makeup. The eyelashes felt really strange for a while, but I eventually got used to them. My hair was flat ironed, and put partially back. When I was asked how I wanted everything, of course, I had no clue, so I asked my consultants (aka my mother and sister) and they told me what should be done. 

This is me after my hair and makeup was completed

I had some time to kill, so I went to visit Matt in his suite. We hung out, and talked for a bit, and then I went back to the bridal suite to check on everything. Things seemed to be going well. After a while, Belle and I went downstairs to change into our bridesmaids dresses so that we could take some photos in the bridal suite. My phone kind of screws up the colors of the dresses - Belle and I were wearing a dark eggplant while mom is wearing a blue dress, but it's a lovely picture just the same. The other picture is of me and the rest of the bridal party.

We went over to Stone House, where the wedding would be, to take professional photos. They haven't been released, but both the bridal and groom parties looked pretty amazing! The pictures I've seen so far are really cool - we got to do lots of different poses outside. We got a bit of mud on our dresses, but nothing that couldn't be wiped off! 

I then supervised Belle and the string quartet as they rehearsed a John Lennon song I arranged for them. Two members of the string quartet sounded good, but unfortunately, I wasn't entirely pleased with two of them. But, the song would have it's desired effect in the end.

The wedding ceremony was beautiful. The flower girl and ring bearers were adorable, and the bridal party entered without a hitch. Erin's father did an amazing job being a co-officiant with a rabbi. Erin's sister did a reading, then my sister sang the song. I couldn't see her since she had to sing from the back of the room, but she sounded amazing. 

The reception was amazing - the food was great, and the dancing was really fun. It was great to catch up with both relatives and friends whom I haven't seen in a while. We even did a dance in honor of my late grandma Ketty, which was very emotional for me. 

And now.....let me present my brother and his wife.....isn't Erin gorgeous???? (Matt, you're ok looking too ;-) ). I am so lucky to be getting another sister, and I am so happy that she makes Matt so happy. They are currently honeymooning in Hawaii, and I'm sure that they are having a fantastic time! 

Unfortunately, I had to go back to work and missed the breakfast the next day, but the rest of my family was there! I loved this picture of them, and  I missed being with them. I wish I had a photo of the four of them plus Erin, but I couldn't find one, so she is featured with my grandparents. 

Overall, last week was amazing, and I feel so fortunate to have an amazing family, and to gain so many new extended family members! If you have read this far, I commend you. Until next time! 

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