Archive for May, 2013

This week I finally took the plunge.  While running the NYC Marathon has always been on my “bucket list,” it took on a new-found urgency for me after the Boston Marathon bombing.  Showing solidarity with the running community and showing that the BIG races WILL continue on, despite these cowardly terrorist, became a mission of mine.  Since many of the Boston Marathon runners get spots due to their willingness to raise money for charity, I thought that I should be willing to do the same.

I knew that NYC Marathon spots would be limited this year due to the cancellation of the 2012 race in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy so I wanted to secure my charity spot before the results of the lottery were announced (a common way to get a spot in NYC is through a lottery system and the registration ends this Friday).  I know that many people who don’t get spots through the lottery will default to a charity spot.  I felt strongly about signing up for a charity spot before the lottery and not because I didn’t get a lottery spot.

Another factor for me is that I’ve been in a bit of a running slump recently.  I attribute this to several factors.  First, the weather has just started to warm up.  After a very cold and long winter, we are experiencing heat and humidity for the first time in 2013 (the Disney races notwithstanding!).  My body is just not used to these conditions yet and I’m not adequately hydrating during my non-running time.  Second, with the change of seasons come various viruses.  I haven’t been overtly ill in the last 2 weeks but I’ve certainly felt unusually exhausted and run-down.  It’s not just that I have trouble getting myself out to run, it’s also that once I’m running I don’t get that good feeling (runner’s high?) that makes me want to keep going.  I know the solution is to let myself slow down and increase the walk breaks but it sure is discouraging.

Maybe I felt I needed the inspiration and motivation to keep up with my training. Or maybe I just wanted to get my charity spot before the lottery closed.  Whatever the reason, I registered with a charity – Team for Kids – to run the NYC Marathon on November 3rd, 2013.  I need to raise $2620 by October 3rd and I already paid my $100 registration fee to Team for Kids and soon I will pay my NYC Marathon registration fee to NYRR.

I picked Team for KIds because I see childhood obesity every day at work. Offering running programs for children in NYC (and Africa) can (and does) change lives.  These program are so critical at a time when there is less money for after school programs. Kids need to be active!

If you would consider donating to Team for Kids, here is the link to my fundraising page.  No amount is too small.  If everyone gives just $5, I will reach my fundraising goal! Here is the link:

The Benefit of a Bad Run

Since the beginning of 2013 I’ve been on a fairly magical stretch of running. Minimal injuries. Three half marathons and one full marathon with a PR in both distances. I signed up for another round of e-coaching with Jeff Galloway. Overall things have been going well. Maybe too well…
This weekend was over-scheduled and crazy. Friday night was dinner in NYC with my work partner and her husband (and my husband). Early Saturday morning was my daughter’s ballet recital followed immediately by the elementary school carnival (including performances by 2 of my kids in the Talent Show) and finally we hosted a birthday party for our 9 year old (ok, his birthday was in February – don’t ask). Sunday morning my husband was off to the hospital was morning rounds after dropping my 9 year old off at Hebrew School. Not exactly a relaxing Mother’s Day morning. By the time I got to my schedule 13 mile run, it was 3PM. I was under-hydrated and tired. My weekend fueling had consistent of way too many restaurant meals to be considered healthy or ideal. And then sun was shining a comfortable 66F.
One advantage to e-coaching is that it’s hard to completely blow off a scheduled run. This is one reason why I pay Mr. Galloway my hard-earned money. Otherwise I can confess that I probably would have skipped this one. My husband was taking my kids to run the bases at Yankee Stadium and I was being given the gift of almost 5 hours to myself. I didn’t really want to spend it slogging through 13 tired miles.
As I geared up for my run, I realized that I had forgotten to charge my Garmin and the battery was teetering at 50%. Not an auspicious beginning. I tried to start slow with a 30/30 ratio. This was one of those runs that just felt sluggish from the start. My times weren’t bad. My long run pace is supposed to be 14 min/mile and my first mile was just below 13:30. The next mile was significantly faster. My legs felt heavy and sore so I decided to take a few laps around the track at the high school. I was definitely feeling the heat. My failure to hydrate all weekend was apparently.
About 6 miles into the run my low battery alert came on my Garmin. I made the smart decision to finish the run at home on the treadmill. One advantage to my basement is that the temperatures stay pretty cool, even in the summer. I found a movie to watch (Snow White and the Huntsman – violent but entertaining) and pushed myself to finish my miles. I fueled and hydrated but just felt dead. I knew I had overheated and overextended myself. And for the first time in a very, very long time I had to walk the last 1.5 miles.
Overall stats? 13 miles in 2:52:41 or 13:16 pace.
Once the movie was over and I had time to shower and reflect, I spent some time thinking about what had gone wrong. I felt that I was slowing down the run portion pretty well but my pace was still too fast. It’s been a cold spring and my body just isn’t ready for 13 miles in warmer weather. I need to hydrate better and eat better before my long runs. And next time I feel sluggish, I should start with a shorter run/walk ratio (maybe 20/20 or even 20/40 until I adjust to the warmer weather).
So while this was my worst run on 2013, I think there are lots of lessons to be learned. I know that I can overheat easily and I need to be more pro-active to prevent that. This will be especially true with training all summer for NYC Marathon in the fall. I need to be more vigilant about hydration and nutrition every day. And I need to be proud that I finished the bad run rather than giving up!

This past weekend (on May 4th to be precise) I ran a virtual 5k. This was not my first virtual race as I had run a virtual half marathon during my Goofy training. Although each virtual race has its own rules, the general idea is as follows. You register for the race and pay the entry fee (usually relatively nominal). Some portion of the entry fee often goes to charity. In this case the race was being organized by The Nerd Herd and the charity was a cancer charity. The Nerd Herd is running a series of 3 races with the “May the 4th be with you” as the first race. The distance for this race was a 5k and the rules were that the 5k could be completed in any way you wanted – walk, run, skip, hop, crawl, etc. Race bibs were emailed in advance (I was number 271). This race was to be run during the week leading up to May 4th (including on May 4th) and the theme of the race was Star Wars. Each participant was able to choose his/her favorite Star Wars character and a quote from that character was on the race bib. I picked Han Solo.
I do consider myself a Star Wars geek – the original movie came out when I was in kindergarten and defined my generation – but I’m not enough of a Star Wars geek to have a themed running costume. I also was in San Diego this past weekend for a work conference. Regular running clothes would have to suffice. I did print out my race bib and even bought safety pins from the hotel gift shop when I realized I’d left my at home. And on May 4th I ran my 5k.
I stayed at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego which had a beautiful path next to the beach. My virtual 5k was done in full view of the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately it was also insanely windy on Saturday morning which may have impacted my finish time. My official training plan this weekend called for 4 easy miles but I decided to run the 5k at a good pace and then take it easy for the last 0.9 miles. My pre-race conditions weren’t ideal – a relatively late arrival into San Diego on Thursday night followed by a big date-night dinner on Friday night. I wasn’t going for a particularly fast time in this event but wanted to have a good showing.
My “official” time was 32:26. My running calculators all predict that I can run closer to a 10 min/mile pace for a 5k but I thought this was a decent finish. I walked a few minutes before completing my 4 miles training run. On the way back to my hotel room somebody stopped me to ask what race I had been running. I guess my bib looked legit!
The next virtual race will be in July for Harry Potter’s birthday. I look forward to virtually racing again!!!