Category Archives: Training

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!

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!

Praise Cheeses!

I'm thankful for cheese and running.

Appropriate shirt for my first run back, as I’m thankful for both cheese and running.

I went for a run tonight for the first time in 13 1/2 weeks!!!  My PT ok’d it as long as I took it really easy – like run a block, walk a block, and don’t do anything that hurts.  So I picked the flattest, easiest, emptiest path in Riverside Park and tried jogging a few steps.  In the beginning, my ankle felt quite stiff and started to hurt after only 30 steps or so (at which time I immediately stopped to walk), but after a while it warmed up a bit and I was able to jog a block or two without stopping.  My average pace for the two miles I walked completed was 15:15 per mile, which is slower than my non-injured walking pace, and it was so hot and humid it felt like swimming on land, but I was still thrilled to be out there!

 

I’m going to keep taking it really easy and I’m not going to try running every day, but this is a HUGE step for me (no pun intended).  I’m finally a runner again!

 

How are you dealing with the summer heat?  Do you still cook in this weather?  What’s your favorite cheese?  Share in the comments!

Where to Run in Westchester? Try Waveny Park in New Canaan, CT!

Waveny Park path

Ok, so Waveny Park is in Connecticut, not Westchester, but it’s close enough.  And I did this run in late August, a little over a month ago (the week before my long run in Pound Ridge Town Park).  The color of the leaves might have changed in a month but the trails are still there!

 

In a turn from the usual, I’m trying to do at least a little training before my next marathon (Twin Cities in Minneapolis/St. Paul on October 4th).  So this week I forced my lovely family to go to Waveny Park so I could do my long run and they could run, too (… and wait and mess around on the exercise equipment and wait and watch the model airplane people and wait).

 

This was kinda neat to see - tons of people had their airplanes out - and it looked like something they did every weekend.

This was kinda neat to see – tons of people had their airplanes out – and it looked like something they did every weekend.

Wavney Park is in New Canaan, Connecticut, not far from the downtown and just off the Merritt Parkway (you can actually see cars on the Merritt while running).  The high school is inside the park, along with a track, a pooltennis courts, a grand old house, and a theater theatre.  I did my entire run inside the park on the various trails – I did not run on the roads as it seemed dangerous and I seem overly cautious.

A lot of the trails looked like this, but narrower and more crowded as the morning passed.

A lot of the trails looked like this, but narrower and more crowded as the morning passed.

Unfortunately, the trails in the park do not form any sort of coherent loop or route (see map here).  So I spent 10 miles going up and down and back and forth and left and right depending on my mood and how crowded certain sections of the trail seemed to be at the time.

Like the path of an insane person, which I became by the end of this run.

Like the path of an insane person, which I became by the end of this run.

 

The good:

  • The trails were easy, in the sense you could wear road shoes and be fine.
  • Hard to get lost, despite all the random turns and dead ends.
  • Lots of shade.
  • There’s a real bathroom inside the park (near where they fly the model airplanes – it looks like a maintenance shed and isn’t too far from the parking lot near the “house”).

The bad:

  • No loop!  Surprisingly frustrating and made the miles creep by.
  • Kinda crowded.  If you start early in the morning or go on a weekday, I imagine it would be much better.
  • No loop.  Seriously, I decided to run in Pound Ridge Town Park the next weekend because I just couldn’t face running random paths in Wavney again.
The Wavney House on a hill.

The backside of Wavney House (on a very gradual hill).

I also tried listening to a book on tape for the first time during the run (Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan – it’s ok, but his stand-up is better).  I enjoyed the experience enough that I listened to Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch during parts of my next two long runs (Girl was easier for me to listen to than Dad, for some reason).  Right now, it’s more appealing for me to listen to comedy than music during my long runs, since I have such a slow pace and upbeat music can be irritating after a while (well, anything can be irritating after a while, which is why mostly I run in silence).  Anyway, if you’re looking for something to pass the time while running, I’d say try it out!  There’s usually a special on Audible memberships (at least one month free but often you can find deals like 3 months for $3 or something), and their different membership levels are explained here (1 credit is basically 1 book).

 

After the run we all went for a big lunch at Le Pain Quotidien and then bought candy at a candy store, where I found my future everyday outfit:

I'll take 100 in my size, please.

I’ll take 100 of these in my size, please.

Back to real time = Tomorrow is the Bronx 10-Miler!  See you there!

 

Do you run on open roads?  What do you listen to while you run?  Where should I try running next time I’m in Westchester?  Share in the comments!

Where to Run in Westchester? Try Pound Ridge Town Park!

This is not the section where I fell down.

This is not the section where I fell down.

I’m a little behind on posting – here’s a mini-review of one of two locations I ran in Westchester County, NY, (about 1 hour north of NYC) in late August.

 

For my long slow distance (LSD) run this week, I did 14 miles of 1.5 mile loops in Pound Ridge Town Park, which was not quite as mind-numbing as it sounds.  I enjoyed the company of my niece for the first 6 miles (she was kind enough to slow down for me), then promptly fell down, then finished another 7 miles before driving back home and doing nothing for the rest of the day (some things never change).

 

Yes, I fell during this run.  Hard.  But let’s run a few loops first, shall we?

Yes, it was a lot of loops.

Yes, it was a lot of loops.  No, it did not stay 57 degrees for very long.

We started the 1.5 mile loop by running along the small pond in the park (the same pond over which the town shoots their amazing 4th of July fireworks every year).  It’s a mostly shaded paved path that has a couple of minuscule hills, heads past the police department, then unfortunately dead ends at Fancher Road.  We’d double-back at this point, continue past the pond and head up a gravel fire road-type thing, through the trees uphill of the baseball fields, then turn right and up another gravel road to pass the basketball courts.  Then we’d head into the woods for a couple short blocks downhill before spilling out onto the tennis courts.  We’d run on/past the courts, veer left on the paved road, run past the playground, past the grassy field, around the parking lot, and start the loop all over again.  One loop down, 8.5 loops to go…

 

After my niece finished her miles with me and went to the playground, I was feeling pretty good as I headed into the woods for the downhill trail portion.  I decided to pick it up a bit on the downhill – just for fun, you know?  I promptly tripped on a rock and went tail over teakettle.  I had a split-second moment of clarity as I went airborn, knowing I was going to fall and trying to figure out how best to fall without seriously injuring myself.  My years of being a terrible snowboarder helped me, as I was able to roll once before coming to a stop, relatively unscathed.  I sat there for a few minutes, pressing hard on my scraped leg and palm, as that always seems to help the pain for me.  I stood up, brushed off, used my hydration pack to irrigate the small wound on my hand, and slowly walked downhill out of the woods back to the tennis courts.  That’s where I shook out my legs and tried trotting around the safe, stable surface of the courts.  I felt fine, no worse than during any other long run, so I continued running the remaining 7.5 miles to finish my LSD run of the week.

By the end of the run, I was this slug.

By the end of the run, I was this slug.

 

Pound Ridge Town Park is not a bad place to run.  We saw several other runners that morning, lots of dog walkers, and lots of people playing on all the various courts and fields (little league, basketball, and tennis).  I’d definitely run there again, but next time I’ll watch my footing.

 

Where do you run in Westchester?  Are you annoyed I posted this route review almost a month after I ran it, or do you not mind?  Are you being inconvenienced by the Pope today?  Share in the comments!

Jackrabbit’s Free Pizza Run

All this, just for running 3.3 miles!

All this, just for running 3.3 miles!

I said I was serious about training this fall, and that apparently extends to training for my upcoming NYC Pizza Run this Saturday, as I went to Jackrabbit’s 2nd ever free pizza run tonight.

 

Every Tuesday at 6:30 pm, Jackrabbit (a running store on 72nd Street between Broadway and Columbus) is sponsoring a fun group run (3-4 miles) followed by free pizza.  Last week was their first pizza run, and two people showed up (not including me, since I didn’t know about it yet).  This week there were seven of us plus the pacer.  They said they’d like to grow the event so if you’d like to run and/or like free pizza, c’mon out!

 

We gathered in front of the store and one woman asked what pace we were going to do.  The Jackrabbit employee/pacer said “easy.”  “What does ‘easy’ mean?” asked the woman.  “9 minute? 10 minute?” and he said “yeah, about that.”  That’s when I knew I would not be running with the group.  Since I know Central Park like the back of my hand,  I just assumed I’d fall back and meet up at the store after the run.

Sorry this is so blurry, but I took it while running (haha).

Sorry this is so blurry, but I took it while running (haha).  Central Park was PACKED tonight.

As luck would have it, there was another woman who was my pace as well, so we dropped back together and chatted.  The main group ran into us as we were on the transverse heading back to the west side and semi-shamed us into doing another loop.  They said they’d go slower but we fell behind immediately and again I assumed we’d just see them at the store.  But lo and behold they were there waiting for us at the entrance to the park.  I’m not sure what they did while they were waiting (I suggested sprints and/or burpees) or if they were annoyed they had to wait for us, but everyone seemed friendly and happy enough.  Note the free pizza was moments away.

 

Back at the store the pizza was all laid out with plates and soda.  I wasn’t hungry but since I’m in training I dutifully ate a slice.  It was pretty good, but the best part was it was free, and it had gotten me off my couch and into Central Park, so it was a win-win-win.  Win.

 

How do you like your pizza?  Are you training for anything?  Is there a Halloween Candy Run I could possibly train for?  Share in the comments!

Fall-ish in Central Park

I wish I had had a bike.

I wish I had had a bike.

This morning I ran 16 of the most miserable miles in Central Park.  I was exhausted, my knees hurt, and I struggled through every mile.  Sheer force of will got me around those loops – force of will and the promise of eating my body weight in food afterwards.

 

The day before I had a pleasant enough 3-mile run, so I hope this was a one-off, and/or my last “bad” run before the Twin Cities Marathon in three short weeks.  But I do want to acknowledge that today I really hated running.  Yes, I’m still thankful that I’m not (terribly) injured right now, and yes, I’m grateful for being healthy in general, yadda yadda #blessed, but today I really hated every able-bodied step I took.  And for my long run, that’s a lot of hated steps.  Last week during my long run I fell so hard on a trail I rolled and bruised my shoulder, my legs, and scraped my hand and shin (healing but still scraped a week later – will post about it later this week).  And yet today I hated running more than the day I fell.

 

And that (occasional?) hate of running?  It’s ok – it’s part of running, I guess.  And life.  But I’m not going to get all philosophical right now because there is still food on this earth I haven’t eaten, and Netflix that needs watching.

 

Happy beginning of fall, runners.  May you not hate running this weekend as much as I did today (not possible).

 

How often do you hate running?  Do you ever actually like running?  When you stepped into the shower today, did you discover your hateful run had mercilessly chafed you?  Have you finished any bags of “Halloween” candy yet?  Share in the comments!

I’m still here!

We're still toeing the line between winter and spring here in the Northeast.

It’s been so long since my last post, I don’t even know what season it is.

It’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve written a post, and there are a couple of reasons for that:

  1. The weather sucked.  For months, it sucked.  It’s finally beautiful outside, so this is no longer a viable reason to not post.
  2. I haven’t been running much.  I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we had a really sucky winter in NYC.  I was going to post about how crummy it was to run in the cold and the snow, and how the ice on the sidewalks and streets was even preventing me from running, but then I kinda just didn’t run and then didn’t post about it and time passed and snow melted and I still didn’t run much.
  3. I’ve been lazy.  Not just on the running, which is a constant struggle, but on my writing, too.  No excuse for that, other than it’s a lot easier to write blog posts in my head and then not actually write them.  But I have been thinking about it!  Does that count?  [No.  No, it does not count.]
  4. I’ve been traveling, but not specifically for running.  In February I spent a week in Portland with my mom (where I ran twice!), then spent spring break with my family in the Caribbean (where I ran twice!), then spent 5 days snow camping at Crater Lake (where I awkwardly snowshoed more than twice!).  I should have posted something about all those trips, but I didn’t, and time passed, and here we are at Easter.
  5. The more time passed, the harder it was to post anything.  Not only did it become a habit not to post, but it also put increasing pressure on the next post I had to write.  As you see, I’ve attempted to reduce that pressure by writing this stupid, crappy post.  This is a strategy I often use to get my butt out the door for a run, especially if it’s a “long” run – I have to dial it back and promise myself fewer miles and/or more walk breaks, otherwise I end up procrastinating so long the day is over.  So instead of finishing an overdue gear review or one of the many candy review posts I have piling up, I’m posting about not posting.  Problem solved!

All this to say, I’m still here and I’ve been thinking about you, especially when I’m running or not running.  I’ll try not to let two solid months go by without a post again!

 

What are some of your Easter traditions?  What did you think of The Walking Dead season finale?  What’s your favorite Easter candy?  Share in the comments!