Running-ish

I didn’t imagine it this way. I figured that 8 months post-partum, I’d be back running 3-4 days a week and feeling strong on my runs and ready to train for a half marathon by now.

Here’s the reality:

  • I run 1-2 days a week. That’s a good week. Some weeks I run zero days.
  • I go to Refine (thank goodness I’m an Ambassador for them!) 3 times a week.
  • I’m signed up for a half marathon in July.

I’m ready for the sidewalks and roads to get less icy so I can run to and from Refine. I hate sitting on the bus or in a cab when I could be getting some miles. I’m gonna be sweaty anyway, right?

Pudgy hand on my chest = heart melt.

Pudgy hand on my chest = heart melt.

So what’s a runner to do when she has very little time to run? Me? I complain to Birdie (sorry, Birdie) and run when I can.

When I run with the Mountain Buggy jogging stroller, I just run at whatever pace feels comfortable. If JB or Birdie runs with me and the stroller, they push the stroller and I we just mosey along.

If I’m running on my own, I do a workout. I hit the track or the treadmill and do something involving sprints or repeats. I run to Central Park and bust out some hills. Between Refine Method (thank you, Brynn) workouts and these runs, I’m in relatively ok shape.

Hello, old friend.

Hello, old friend.

There are legitimate barriers to my running. My kid (the happiest, cutest reason I sometimes can’t run), my absolutely bonkers school schedule, the crazy slippery road conditions we’ve had, and life choices.

But part of being a smart runner is recognizing where I am now and what I can do. Placing unattainable standards and goals on my plate will only serve to make me a very angry, frustrated Abby.

And no one likes pissed-off Abby.

So there you have it. I’m running-ish. Looking very forward to the Spring when I won’t be nervous about skidding around with the stroller or the air being too cold for the munchkin. Oh, and I get to be done with school.

Yaaaaaaaay!

That’s the state of things in my running world. Where are you? Are you running or running-ish?

Ready for Summer running.

Ready for Summer so I can get back to running, not running-ish.

Now go out and run!

How To Get Through A Treadmill Run

Yeah, so that happened.

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Show of hands, how many of you are training for a Spring full/half? I imagine a good portion of you are #BostonBound and eyeballs deep in frozen long runs about now. Sucks.

So what’s a runner to do if it’s insanely cold outside and all you got is a treadmill option or nothing?

Well, you do the treadmill work. You get on it, push start, and get your workout done.

IMG00622-20120130-1712BUT HOW??????

  1. Download the Serial podcast. You’re welcome.
  2. Catch up on Downton Abbey. And The Americans. The entire season is available on iTunes.
  3. Call your Mom.
  4. Catch up with your BFF.
  5. Invite a slower/faster friend to join you. Birdie and I do this all the time. It makes the miles FLY and pace isn’t an issue.

How do you get through the treadmill long runs? I love a podcast. I love TV but I would be watching it on my phone or an iPad and it’s too small. I know. Picky, picky.

Quit complaining about the treadmill and go out and run!

 

3 Ways to Survive Winter Running

I like running in cool weather. In Colorado, where I lived for 7 years, the air is cool and the sun is warm and I’m a happy girl.

Disgusting place to run, huh?

Disgusting place to run, huh?

In New York, how do I put this? There’s a lot less sun and a lot more frickin freezing cool air.

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

On days like yesterday when the temperature is 22, feels like 12 with 22 mph wind gusts, it’s hard to go out and run. Especially if you’re kinda “eh” about running at the moment. So what are sure-fire ways to get your buns out there on the frozen pavement?

  1. Go with a friend. Birdie and I chatted through 5 miles yesterday and it made a WORLD of difference. She is one of 2 reasons I will run through this winter. The other is pure vanity, I’ll admit it.
  2. Run to food. Most breakfast places in the ‘burbs don’t care if you’re in run clothes and I know my favorite diner doesn’t judge. If pancakes don’t motivate you, I don’t know what will.
  3. Sign up for a weekend fun run. No pressure, just a few dollars paid might be what you need to get to that weekend morning run or midweek training run.
I draw the line if I need more layers than this.

I draw the line if I need more layers than this.

How do you stay motivated in the cold? Let’s be real, vanity is the primary motivator in my world. There, I’ve said it twice so you don’t have to feel shy about it. Friends, food, and races are a bonus.

Now go out and run!

The Recap I Never Wrote

It’s no great secret that I get bogged down with school in the month of October. A month I love for the change in weather, leaves, and general pace of the city is now known as The Month of Midterms.

Fall used to be such a peaceful time of year...

Fall used to be such a peaceful time of year…

This year was something special because we were required to take special certification test in September that has made the entirety of this Fall semester feel like a never-ending exam schedule. No wonder I never wrote a recap about my September half marathon.

The Hamptons Marathon in September was supposed to be my triumphant 10th marathon. I trained all Summer, dutifully completing my workouts and sticking to a strength training routine at Refine, logging long runs on the weekends killer workouts during the week. I hit my highest training mileage in August with 64 miles in one week.

beast-mode-switch

Nothing special, but lots of running for me.

I was determined to PR at this race and was on track in every single run to do so. I even had Birdie signed up to rabbit my race and get me to that finish line. Alas, it was not to be come race day.

I’m no stranger to having to pull out of races completely, but this would be the first time I would have to drop down mid-race because my body just couldn’t take it.

HalfFullLogo

To be fair, I knew this was going to happen about two weeks before the race. Despite my pouch holding up AMAZINGLY throughout most of training, there are totally unpredictable circumstances that just sneak up and make it impossible to push.

What can you do?

Birdie still ran with me and we still had a fun trip out East, eating Two Boots pizza in the car while JB drove the expressway. Thank goodness JB, GB, and some of our friends came out to cheer. It was a huge boost mid-race.

Yes, we wore matching outfits. We were totally the coolest kids in the race.

Yes, we wore matching outfits. We were totally the coolest kids in the race. (Picture courtesy of GB)

The race itself, however, sucked.

  1. The man announcing the race was mean and nasty and left every runner within ear shot irritated right from the start of the race. His exact words right before the gun went off, “If you have a full marathon bib (me) and are dropping down to the half (me), DON’T EVEN THINK OF COMING CLOSE TO THE FINISH LINE. We will NOT let you cross it.” I mean, seriously?!?! Get a grip, dude.
  2. The course was not closed to cars.
  3. We ran on the main road (Montauk Highway) and there were no cones to block the cars from riding up right behind or beside us.
  4. Birdie and I almost got hit by two cars trying to navigate the road and the runners.
  5. The cops did nothing, NOTHING to protect the runners from the traffic.

The pre-race number pick-up was fine, the finish line food included chocolate milk (yum), and the course was good, but that definitely didn’t make up for the unsafe course and nasty race announcer.

Tried to smile through the near-death car accidents.

Tried to smile through the near-death car accidents.

Needless to say that in spite of the convenience of this race, I will not be doing it again unless they can guarantee the safety of the runners by closing off part of Montauk Highway or at least making the course more visible to cars by adding cones along the entirety of the race.

I’m sure there was a part of me that was bummed when I knew I wouldn’t be running the full after all that training, but that fleeing moment was erased as I high-fived myself for surviving training, being able to run my fastest training runs, and getting into all-around awesome shape after everything my poor little body has been through.

Finish line!!!!!

Finish line!!!!!

And still rocking 1:43 in a half-marathon. 3 minutes off my PR. Not too shabby, body.

I mean, HELL, I am STILL running and feeling awesome, my body is 100% in working order. How awesome is THAT?!?!!!!!

So, that was the Hamptons Marathon/Half Marathon.

Did anyone else run this race? What were your thoughts? Are you planning on running it next Fall? Is this typical for a small town race? Am I being a prima donna? You can tell me.

Now go out and run.

PS. I contacted the race directors about the issues I had with their race and their response was basically, “Eh, too bad. Nothing we can do about the cars and the announcer was just insistent.” Excellent PR. Really, stellar job.

Setting Goals

First off, congratulations to everyone who completed a race this weekend, especially my friends who rocked the Hartford & Chicago Marathons. Shout out to my training buddy and school wife, Birdie, who now resides in PR City with a shiny time of 3:06:14.

That’s right. She’s MY friend.

Jealous?

I am a full minute slower than her but she puts up with me :)

I am a full minute slower than her but she puts up with me 🙂

Hey Birdie, way to go.

I am asked by my runners and lots of other newbies how they can figure out a realistic goal time for their next race. It’s something of a random equation that has mostly to do with training, a lot to do with how gutsy you are, and a little to do with race day conditions.

(Image courtesy of Runner's World)

(Image courtesy of Runner’s World)

  1. Never assume you’ll run as fast as your best long run. That was practice and it was likely several miles shorter than your race. If it happens, great! But it’s not the best way gauge your race day speed.
  2. Do several time trials of several different distances throughout training. You’ll be able to see if you’re making progress and figure out what race pace is for you.
  3. Adjust your race day goal time for race day conditions. Running in 56 degree, slightly overcast with no wind conditions is a WORLD of difference from 76 degrees, sunny with a head wind.
  4. Have an A, B, and C goal. My A goal is to finish feeling good and upright. B is the best time I can hope for, given my training. C is a realistic time based on past races.
  5. Know your body and look to your training for strategy. If you didn’t practice negative splits during training, don’t expect to see it during a race. Your race day strategy will likely mimic your training strategy, so keep good track of your runs!

That said, anything can happen on race day. You could have the perfect day, the greatest feeling in your legs, and have the race of your life that kicks every single one of your long training run’s butts. Or, the conditions could still be perfect and you bonk.

It happens.

(See #4)

The smiliest I have EVER been at a finish line. You'd never know my body was trying to kill me (literally).

The smiliest I have EVER been at a finish line. You’d never know my body was trying to kill me (literally).

The best thing to gauge your race time is your cumulative training performance. You’re 800s, mile repeats, tempo runs, and long runs are the best indicators of how what kind of condition you are in for race day.

Trust your training and get gutsy. Leave it all out on the road and see what you can do.

And have fun!

Anyone racing this upcoming week? What race did you finish last weekend? Go ahead and brag about it!!

Now go out and run.