Author Archives: WTFinish

18 Mile Tune-Up – 18 Miles is a Lot of Miles – Sept 17, 2017

In the corral behind the 12:00 pacer – look at the hazy sky!

Yesterday I ran one of my favorite NYRR races – the NYRR 18 Mile Marathon Tune-Up in Central Park.  It’s three full 6-mile loops of the park and geared towards runners with fall marathons.

 

Although it’s supposed to be specifically timed for the NYC Marathon, because of my “beginner” training schedule it was 4 miles more than I was scheduled to run.  My trainer said it would be ok if I ran it, and that I could lower my mileage earlier that week and/or just bail after 14 miles and not finish the race if I didn’t feel like it.  “You’re the boss!” she wrote.

 

I tried to keep that in mind as my nerves got the best of me in the week before this race.  I’ve been having some left calf cramping issues (that’s the leg I broke last year which withered away) and I still can’t quite mentally believe I can run long distances after being a gimp for so long.  So my mantra heading into this race was “go slow, don’t step in a pothole, and you can always stop.”  Not very catchy but it was effective.

 

I stuffed my running belt and bra with Gu, gummies, and a last minute addition of candy corn pumpkins (which turned out to be really great since they were a tasty way to get sugar that didn’t stick in my teeth like the gummies always do!) and hopped in a cab to the upper east side.  I wasn’t going to exert any more energy than necessary that morning!

 

I lined up in the last corral so I wouldn’t feel pushed to run too fast at the start.  That strategy didn’t work as well as I had hoped, as many late, fast runners blew past me during the first mile or so.  But it wasn’t just the super fast runners blowing past me – for some reason my stupid calf decided to seize up right at the start of the race.  Maybe it was because the first thing we had to run was down the Harlem hills – not an ideal way to start any race.  Whatever it was, I had to walk and even stop and stretch my calf several times, being careful not to overstretch it and send it into a real spasm.  Eventually I felt like I could run a few steps on it, and a few steps evolved into a few more, and after about 1.5 miles it finally started to loosen up and feel almost normal.  By mile 4, I finally felt pretty good and was even cautiously optimistic about my chances of finishing the whole race.

 

 

It was a hot, humid day with a “real feel” of 86 degrees by the time I finished running.  It was so humid you couldn’t even see the skyline in midtown from the park!  At least it was overcast, and one could even argue the heat and humidity helped keep me honest and slow.  I would argue my out-of-shape body helped keep me slow, but whatever.  I plodded along mile after mile, sometimes hurting, sometimes feeling ok, but mostly thrilled that I was out there actually doing what seemed impossible only a few months ago.

 

A couple of random things I saw/heard on the course:

  • A man in a business suit on a Segway with giant tires, speeding up Cat Hill, with spectators laughing at him behind his back.
  • A runner so sweaty that his legs had soap bubbles all over them – maybe from the detergent still on his shorts?  It was unclear and I didn’t stop to ask.
  • At the start of my second loop, the announcer saying “That’s a big smile!  That is a… big smile…”

 

And just like that, I was finished.  Haha, no, just kidding, it was endless and took me almost four hours.  But yes, eventually I finished with a big smile still on my face and a bagel in my mouth.

So happy I found the finish!

Along the 6-mile looped course, they had water stops at every mile (aka 6 times), Gatorade twice, and PowerGel once (so you passed the Gel station three times during the race).  At the finish, however, they only offered cups of water and Gatorade, cut up bananas, and plain bagels.  Luckily I had a ton of food waiting for me at home (ground beef burrito for the win!), along with a massage and a lot of Netflix to catch up on.  Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

 

In other news, the tech shirt for this race was quite a bit larger than the tech shirts earlier this year.  Maybe they got the memo that a woman’s extra large shouldn’t be skin tight on a size 10?  There’s no medal besides your aching legs.

The tech shirt for the race (front and back, women’s XL). It’s nice!

Today I have done a lot of nothing except realize that I have three NYRR races in three weeks – this one, the Bronx 10 Miler next Sunday, and Grete’s Great Gallop the Sunday after that.  Hope to see you out there!

 

Have your legs ever gotten soapy while running?  What’s your favorite thing to eat after a long run?  Have you ever tried the Trader Joe’s Pita Chips with Cinnamon & Sugar?  Share in the comments!

Happy 4th Birthday, Where’s the Finish!

Where’s the Finish turns 4 today!

I can’t remember what it was like to be 4 years old, but I’ll certainly remember this past year in running (or not running).  From my sprained/broken ankle, to the misdiagnosis, the first rehab, the correct diagnosis, the second rehab, and the final (very late) return to running, it’s been a painful year without a lot of blog posting since I didn’t have much running stuff to write about.

Central Park’s version of “Reflection Lake.”

But that’s all over now, and I’m already in the eighth (8th!?!) week of training for the NYC marathon (12 weeks to go!).  I took the last two weeks totally off from running, however, as I was on vacation in the Pacific Northwest (Washington & Oregon)!  It was an amazing trip and I throughly enjoyed myself (and all the fish & chips & Dairy Queen…) but returning to running the last couple days has been painful.  Not because of my ankle, or even my knees, but because I feel like a bloated slug full of broken marbles and quick-setting cement.

Eating all of this yesterday on a food tour also did not help.

To be honest, even though I’m incredibly grateful and thrilled to be running again, running still kinda sucks.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s much better than not running, but there are still many days when it’s really, really hard, and it’s hot outside, or it’s too cold, or it’s raining, or I’m tired, or there’s something on TV (there’s always something on TV), or I’d rather reorganize my sock drawer than go out for a run.  And even when I do get out the door, sometimes the actual running sucks, too, and I feel heavy, and slow, and I can’t breathe, and everything hurts, and I’d rather be folding socks and watching TV.

Saw this in Central Park on my run today. So prophetic…

So, yes, there is hard work ahead.  And I’m trying to keep in mind what the cute PT told me recently – this marathon is about returning to running, not about speed, not about time.  It’s about being healthy and uninjured and enjoying myself.  I can’t compare myself to where I was a year and a half ago, or play the “what if I never injured myself” game.  I can just keep slogging out the uncomfortable miles and hope the growing pains don’t last too long.

 

And as I do on every blog birthday, I reflect on my goals.  Even though I’ve been stuck on state #24 for a long time now, I still hope to run a marathon in all 50 states (although half marathons are so tempting… but I’m not ready to drop down to that level yet).  I still hope to improve my running speed and endurance (which should be easy at this point since I’m bargain basement).  And I hope to celebrate many more birthdays with all of you!

 

How do you deal when running sucks?  Is rhubarb crisp an acceptable substitute for birthday cake?  What if you put a candle in it?  Share in the comments!

Ferry vs Bus to the NYC Marathon

The eternal debate rages on…

Warning:  Long boring post ahead that will only be interesting to you if you’re considering baggage and transport options for the NYC Marathon.  Mom, you can skip reading this one.  😉

 

This year the baggage and transport options for the NYC Marathon open on Tuesday, July 11 (and close on August 22). But runners won’t find out their bib numbers or starting corrals until much, much later (probably October).  So how do you choose between the options?

 

Bag or No Bag?

This one is pretty easy.  Most people say not to check a bag.  The upside of no baggage is an earlier exit from the park (relatively speaking – you’ll still exit 1/2 mile after the finish line vs 1 mile for those with bags) plus a free waterproof fleece-lined hooded parka.  These parkas are huge, thick, just massive things that really help you stay warm (and dry, if it’s raining).  They are ugly, and you’ll never wear it again, but you’ll also find it hard to toss because it’s so nice.  The downside is you’ll have to toss your warm layers and whatever else you want at the start but don’t want to run 26 miles with.  Use this as an opportunity to get rid of clothes you don’t want anymore (everything is collected and donated) or buy cheap or used clothing if you don’t have anything you want to leave behind (but I mean, c’mon, when are you going to wear that stained sweatshirt again?).

 

The only reason you’d check a bag is if you absolutely have to have something at the start that you can’t toss but can’t carry.  If you need something particular at the finish (but not at the start), I’ve heard you can check a bag at Jackrabbit on 72nd between Columbus and Amsterdam (for a small fee). Otherwise you can probably last until you get back to your hotel or car (or, heck, even buy it from a store near the park).  Ultimately, I haven’t heard many complaints about the choice either way – I think the bag check runs pretty smoothly, and those who don’t check a bag are fine, too.  Can’t really go wrong here.

 

Ferry or Bus?

This is the big question I’ve debated for a long time, but I think I’ve finally made my choice.  When I ran in 2005, the buses left from downtown and the ferry was not an official option.  Now, buses leave from midtown (next to the library at 5th and 42nd) and the ferry is an official transport option.  (I’m only going to debate the NYC options since if the bus from Jersey is an option for you, you’re probably not debating anything!)

 

The bus is appealing because it’s one-stop-shopping.  You get on the bus, you zone out, and you get off at the starting area.  Lovely!  My friend who took the ferry last year said it was cold and if he had to do it again he’d take the bus.  Plus, the bus is in midtown, which is easy to get to even if there are delays on the subway or something (I could taxi or uber or even walk if it came to it).  So at first the bus was the clear winner for me.  But then I realized they close the bridge at 6:45, which means that all the buses are really early.  Not a problem if you are in one of the first couple waves, but if your start time is 11:00 and you’re taking a bus at, say, 5:45, that means you’d board the bus more than five hours before your start time!

 

So what are the start times, and how do you know which wave you’ll be in?  I’ve found several old pace charts that really, really help with this question – this is from 2014this is from 2015, and this is from 2016.  NYRR will seed you based on what you said your finish time will be (and maybe possibly based on data it has on you, but I’m not 100% sure on that).  Basically, and assuming this year will be like last year, if you’re a 3:00 to 3:30 marathoner you’ll be in Wave 1 that leaves at 9:40 am, 3:35 to 4:00 will be in Wave 2 at 10:15 am, 4:00 to 4:30 will be Wave 3 at 10:40 am, and 4:30 to 6:00 (yikes that’s a big spread) are Wave 4 at 11:00 am.  Note that it might take several to many minutes to cross the actual starting line.  Last year I had friends who started almost at noon.  That means that even if they finished in 4 hours 45 minutes, the sun would already be set.  🙁  (Let’s note here that I’m gunning for a 5:15 finish, but will be happy with 5:30 and ok with 5:45.  So, yeah.  A lot slower than sub 5.)

 

So, setting aside the fact that there’s a decent chance I will finish this marathon in the dark, I will certainly be in Wave 4, and I will probably have a green colored bib and have to run on the bottom of the Verrazano bridge (rumor has it blue and orange get top, green gets bottom).  These are all depressing things to learn, but I guess I’d rather make peace with them now than be surprised on race day.

 

Back to the ferry!  The ferry is highly recommended on online boards, but why?  It seems like a hassle – you have to subway or taxi all the way to the tip of Manhattan, stand in a crush of people to get onto a ferry that holds 5,000 people, then get off in another crush and make your way onto another bus (one hopes there are enough buses there waiting), which then finally takes you to the start.  And as my friend said, it’s cold.  And it sounds like a lot of standing and walking and generally being on your legs to me!  So why so recommended?  Honestly, it sounds like the #1 reason is because the “view is nice.”  Yeah, you get to see the Statue of Liberty and feel like you’re really “in” New York City.  I mean… I guess?  But as someone who has lived here 17 years and has seen the statue many times, I think I can pass on marathon morning.  Other ferry advantages?  You can “stretch out” and there’s a bathroom on board (and in the terminal).  But there are also bathrooms on the buses!  (or so I’ve read)

 

The real reason I’m (probably) choosing the ferry?  (Gasp, yes, I think I’m going to deal with the ferry hassle!)  Because of the time cutoffs and my late start.  Even if they have buses as late as 6:30 (which I highly doubt what with the 6:45 bridge closure), that’s still 4 1/2 hours before my wave starts.  I could take the 8:30 or even 9:00 ferry and probably make it on time (although I’m sure my nerves will get the best of me and I’ll be on the 8:00 ferry).  Regardless, that’s a pretty big time difference, and ultimately makes taking the ferry worth the additional hassle.  And who knows, maybe I’ll be so inspired by the beauty of the Statue of Liberty that I’ll crush my time.  I am strongly considering dressing like the statue for my race costume anyway…

 

Either way, people say be on the bus or ferry 2.5 to 3 hours before your official start time to give yourself time for the transport(s), walking, security, bag check, porta potty visits, getting to your corral, etc.  Also note that in the past, bag check closed a little over an hour before the wave (e.g. 9:20 for a 10:30 start) and corrals closed about 20 minutes before the waves started (e.g. 10:10 for a 10:30 start), so you might need even more time to get to the start depending.  The upside is it gives you more time to eat the free bagels, Powerbars, coffee, tea, and water that’s at the start.

 

Ultimately, getting to the NYC Marathon start is a big hassle, no matter how you slice it.  And then after getting to the start, you will inevitably be waiting around a long, long time (in the cold and other unpredictable elements).  But then after all that hassle and all that waiting, you get to run 26.2 miles, so there’s that.  Why do we do this again?

 

TL;DR – take the bus if you’re in waves 1 or 2, if you’re staying in midtown, or if you don’t mind hanging around the starting village.  Take the ferry if you’re from out-of-town and really want the “NYC experience,” if you’re staying at a downtown hotel, or if you’re in a later wave and don’t want to kill too much time in the village.

 

Are you or have you ever taken the bus or ferry to the start of the NYC Marathon?  Checked a bag?  What meal are you planning for before and after the race?  Share in the comments!

NYRR 1 for You 1 for Youth 4 Miler – I Have Friends – Sat, July 8, 2017

Now, he is known only as… the Falconer!

Despite it being 1000% percent humidity (not a typo), this morning my friends and I had a great time at the NYRR 1 for You 1 for Youth 4 miler in Central Park.  I originally signed up for this race because instead of a race shirt you got a free* pair of shoes!  Despite it being a smaller race (for NYRR – only about 1900 runners instead of 5000+), I was able to run with 3 of my friends – two who I knew were going to be there, and one that I found along the way!

 

But first, the shoes.  Every entrant got a pair of shoes, and for each entrant one pair was donated to a child in the NYRR youth program.  That’s a lot of shoes!  When you first signed up, you had to indicate your preference between two different pairs of New Balance shoes – the Fresh Foam Zante v3 (neutral, men’s here ($64-$129) and women’s here, $80-$105) and the 860v7 (stability, men’s here ($112-$178) and women’s here, $110-$190).  I chose the Zante because… well, it was cuter, and I knew I probably wouldn’t run in either pair since you can pry the Hokas off my cold, dead feet.

The Fresh Foam Zante v3 (it comes in other colors but we only had this option).

I think they are nice-looking shoes, but they feel like… nothing – no arch support and very little cushion.  After trying them on I described them as “cardboard.”  Hopefully when I actually wear them more I’ll like them, but I’ll stick to (very) short walks in them first.

 

When you picked up your shoes you also got to measure your foot on this high-tech machine that worked no better than a standard brannock device, but it still was a nice reminder we’re living in a pointlessly high-tech future.

They only had people stand on the machine, no running involved.

When my friend picked up her shoes, they didn’t have anymore Zantes so she got the 860s, but luckily they still had some in her size (which was incorrectly measured by the fancy machine).  She also said they had good arch support, so maybe she was spared the pain of the cardboard Zantes.

 

Have I mentioned the new NYRR digs yet?  Last (?) year they moved from an Upper East Side brownstone to a temporary location on the Upper West Side, but now they’re in their new permanent location in midtown west.  It’s big and nice, but part of me misses that old brownstone charm.

It’s a big HQ! There are bathrooms (no showers) and lockers, plus places to charge your phone.

On race morning I texted my two friends who were running the race and we met up in the corrals.  I was already sweating like a pig from my warm up mile that I ran at a blistering 12-minute-per-mile pace.  Pretty sure I frightened them.

I think they were pretty excited to start running away from me ASAP.

Because it was a relatively small race, the corrals were close together and we crossed the start in only about three minutes.  I wasn’t running with my friends because they’re both much faster than me, so I lost them in the crowd almost instantly.  A little less than a mile from the start, however, I saw a very familiar back ahead of me.  After I checked to see if he was wearing minimalist shoes, I felt bold enough to try calling out his name (and steeling myself for the possibility it wasn’t him and I was just going to be some jackass screaming a name out in the middle of a race).  But it was him!  I have friends!

At the start of the race on the 72nd Street Transverse- can amazingly almost see the starting line.

I spent the next three miles running as fast as I could while pretending it was no big deal, and chatting about this and that with my running friend who I hadn’t seen in ages.  I felt bad because he’s training for Berlin (he ran 8 miles today, no big deal) and he’s much, much faster than me, and I didn’t want to ruin his race, but he stuck with me until the end (which was really good because I felt like I might die at the end – there was only water and pollen in the air at this point – no oxygen – which made breathing difficult).

 

But after sitting in the shade for a while, we all recovered and had a huge brunch/lunch at Fred’s.  It was an amazing morning and a super nice way to (1) get some shoes, (2) get some exercise and (3) eat a bacon club sandwich and then buy ice cream on the way home.

Proof we survived the race. My other runner friend is not pictured. But I swear he’s real.

*Free with your $50 race entry fee – but still not bad considering a typical NYRR race is $18-23 anyway.

 

Do you wear New Balance shoes?  Have you ever run a race with friends?  Do you watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend?  Share in the comments!

Achilles Hope & Possibility 4 Miler – A Hot & Sunny Return to Racing – June 25, 2017

😀

Today I ran (actually ran!) my first race since my injury last May!  It was a relatively hot and sunny morning, but Central Park was beautiful as usual and the crowd was energized and inspiring.  My goals were to hit 10:15 to 10:30 per mile and to not break any bones.  Mission accomplished!

 

Achilles International is an amazing organization that helps runners with all types of disabilities participate in road races.  Years ago, before various injuries kept me sidelined, I volunteered as a runner guide on a couple of training runs with Achilles.  It was amazing to run with blind athletes who ran better than I did with sight.  If you have any interest, I highly recommend checking them out.  I also wanted to return to running with this race, since it helps put my (relatively) small injury in perspective (especially as I get smoked by blade runners!).

 

This morning I scarfed a nectarine and headed out to the park.  According to my training, I was supposed to run a 1 mile warm up and a 1 mile cool down.  I actually managed to do a slow 1 mile warm up, which is honestly shocking to me because I never do those sorts of things.  Run more before a race?  No thanks.  If I wanted to run more, I would have signed up for a longer race.

These hot dog vendors know their audience.

After plodding around “warming up” in the hot sun and stretching like I had accomplished something, I got into my corral and listened to Jon Stewart (yep, that Jon Stewart) joke that he would need to be carried across the finish by his son.  I looked around to see who I could get to carry me, and cursed my lack of foresight on this important issue.  My starting corral was so far back that multiple waves went off before we even moved, and I wondered if the winners had finished the 4 mile race already.

Several waves had gone off and I’m standing here taking pictures.

I ran the first mile in about 10 minutes, which was faster than I thought I’d run and pretty exciting.  I guess I got too excited because my next mile was about 9:30, which is much faster than I had intended and I still had 2 more miles to run in the 83 degree heat.  I slowed down on the third mile and then picked up the pace again for the last mile, sprinting through the finish chute like a total poser.  I beat my time goal and averaged just under 10 minute miles, which at this point in my training I will accept!  I collected my medal and an apple, but I did not pick up a bagel because I have the iron willpower of champions.  Plus I still felt guilty about the pizza, cheesy polenta, meatballs, and frozen yogurt I had the day before…

 

All-in-all, I was really happy with the race and my run in general.  I’m so happy to be back out there running again, even if it is for only 4 miles (and slower than I was a year ago, let alone a few years ago).  I’ve also noticed the runger is back (i.e. the “running hunger”) as I want to consume everything in my kitchen all at once like a fat tornado.  So are the blisters on my toes.  And the stupid calf tan lines.  Welcome back to running!

It’s thin, white, see-thru, and small. 😐

I’ve also officially started the NYRR 20-week online marathon training program, finishing the first week today.  Yes, that means the NYC Marathon is only 19 weeks away!  Eeep!

 

How was your weekend?  What are your tips to beat the heat?  What do you like to eat when you feel unstoppable hunger?  Share in the comments!

Happy National Running Day 2017!

This is another excellent way to celebration National Running Day.

Happy National Running Day!  This year I celebrated by going for a run in Central Park!  That’s right, I’m finally back in the park after my broken ankle sidelined me for a year.

 

I also officially graduated myself from the Couch to 5K program, because even though I’m only in week 7 of the 9 week program, I’ve been able to cover 3.1 miles three times now.  The last few C25K workouts are just continuous jogging for 25 minutes anyway, so it didn’t make sense to go back down to long (3 minute) walk breaks.  Thanks, C25K, for getting me back out there, though!

Oh god, run!

Since I’m no longer using the C25K app, I tried the “Zombies, Run” app today for the first time!  If you’re not familiar with the app, it basically narrates a story by playing short clips of people talking to you as if you’re running through a post-apocalyptic zombie-filled world… and occasionally you get chased by zombies so you have to speed up or lose items you virtually “gather” along the way.  I really enjoyed the first episode (especially the British radio announcer) but the zombies scared me exactly like I feared they would, and I ran too fast and was nervous.  Luckily, I was going downhill, so I escaped the zombies and ran the fastest mile (by far) that I’ve run in over a year.  Even better, you can turn the zombie chase feature off, which I think I’ll do because I’m just too agitated by stuff like that.  (Says the girl who would have heart palpitations playing the “PAWS” typing test game in elementary school as she watched the cat’s paw prints slowly chase her text across the screen…) (By the way I looked everywhere online for that game and can’t find it.)

The zombies seriously scared me – in contrast, my first mile was 11:40!

It’s also only 22 short weeks until the NYC Marathon!  I even signed up for the NYRR virtual trainer because I really want my hand held for this race.  And since Nike hasn’t offered me their Tesla pacer car (yet), I needed to look for other support.  Luckily the cute PT is also offering me help along the way (and telling me to stretch my quads and hamstrings to reduce knee pain – who knew?!).

 

If you missed running today, Global Running Day is coming up next Wednesday!  Hope to see you out there!

 

Did you notice NYRR doesn’t celebrate National Running Day anymore?  How did you celebrate National Running Day?  Did you ever play the PAWS typing game in school?  Share in the comments!

Anniversaries & Graduations

Today is the 1-year anniversary of when I broke my ankle (I didn’t know I broke it until much later).  And while I’m not anywhere near where I want to be, running-wise, at least I’m running a little again, and for that I’m very thankful.  In fact, today my knees hurt more than my ankle, which made me feel almost normal again.  😉

 

It’s also springtime and graduation time, both of which make me think about how fleeting everything is (death and change everywhere).  So just remember that wherever you are in your running journey (or school or career or Netflix marathon session), it will change whether you like it or not, so enjoy the moment if it’s good, and take comfort in the knowledge that it will change if it sucks.  I also recommend eating an ice cream cone, because they are delicious.

 

It’s also Mother’s Day today – Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!  Did you remember to call your mom today?   What’s the best Mother’s Day present?  Does your mom run?  Share in the comments!

The Things You See While Running

We’re all familiar with Pizza Rat, right?  Well, lest you think it’s all prosaic sunshine and flowers when you go for a run in NYC, sometimes you spot a true miracle of nature.  Today I was lucky enough to witness nature at its finest:  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Rat Rat.

 

Rat Rat also reminded me of that dog in the Frontline Gold commercial, except Rat Ran never figured out how to get his treat through the fence.

 

Beautiful day!

#blessed

 

What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen on a run?  What do you like on your pizza?  Have you ever eaten rat?  Share in the comments!

Hello, New Age Group!

Ridiculous unicorn hats are perfect for birthdays… or anytime, really.

Any runner can tell you that the only good best part about getting older is entering a new age group – which I did this week!  Hello and congratulations to the 40-45 group, as I will now be bringing down your average!

 

I also got some amazing running gifts for this big birthday – a Garmin 935 (!!!), a snazzy (and fast-looking) pair of Under Armor running sunglasses, and a gift certificate to Jackrabbit!  The running stuff makes me so happy because it shows my friends and family haven’t given up on my running, despite the seemingly endless break, and because I’m finally able to use running swag again!

Yes, this was at the end of my run – not even two miles!  😐

The Garmin Forerunner 935 deserves a full separate review but since I’m not so good with tech, and because there are many other, much better and more detailed reviews out there, I’ll just say this watch does everything (including give you text and email alerts from your phone just like an iWatch) and it magically synced with my couch to 5K app without me even telling it to (it vibrated and gave me the run/walk alerts just like the app, so I could conceivably run without headphones now).  I might turn 50 before I discover all the things this watch can do.

Pretty sunglasses 🙂

I start week 4 of Couch to 5K on Monday – they bump you up to a full five (5!) minutes of running.  My ankle is holding up ok, but my knees and the rest of me are a little upset I’ve gone back to this running thing.  Shhh, nobody tell my joints I’ve hit 40 (but I think they already know).

 

And if you want to watch Nike’s attempt to break the 2-hour marathon, you can stream it live tonight on Runner’s World (it starts at 11:45 pm EST or 8:45 PST).  The only bet I’ll make is that I’ll be asleep before we know the result.

 

How do you celebrate your milestone birthdays?  How many birthday cakes are too many for a single birthday?  Do you think we’ll ever break 2 hours in the marathon, and if so, when?  Share in the comments!

Couch to 5K – Finally “Running” Again

April showers bring April flowers.

11 months after breaking my ankle, I’ve finally started running again (for real this time, I hope, knock wood!).  The best part has been seeing all the beautiful spring flowers!

Last week I started the Couch to 5K program (using the free app).  The first week has you walk for 5 minutes, then run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds for eight repetitions, followed by another 5 minutes of walking.  The entire workout is only 30 minutes, which I appreciated more than I’d like to admit.  The timer (a bell plus a woman’s voice telling you to “start running” or “begin walking“) keeps me honest as I ease back into this whole running thing again after so long.  I’m basically starting over as a runner, only this time I’m 13 years older and have a deep-seated fear of breaking my ankle again.  On the plus side I know which flavors of Gu I like and I have all sorts of gear.  I feel like such a poser heading out in my bright tights and fancy shoes and running belt for my 60 seconds of jogging!  Maybe bringing all the snacks is overkill?  Nah…

 

I’m doing the second week now, which has bumped me up to a full 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking (but only six repetitions of each, so it’s still only 20 minutes long).  The saddest thing is that I really feel those additional 30 seconds of running.  If you saw me out there with my slow trot and constant starting and stopping, you’d be more likely to suggest I take up knitting than try running the NYC Marathon in 27 weeks.

Even this squirrel is skeptical.

I hope there are no more 11-month tapers in my future, and that running nonstop for 30 minutes doesn’t ever seem like an insurmountable goal again, because all this not running has really put a damper on my fun-times candy-consumption.  My Garmin also seems to have given up the ghost during this long time off.  Time to buy a new watch?

 

Do you have any GPS & heart rate watch recommendations?  Have you ever taken a year off from running?  Did you score any good deals on Easter candy?  Share in the comments!