Sunday, October 30, 2011

#1 Killer of Runs

Creaky floors. Yep creaky floors are the number one cause of not getting out the door. Well, at least at my house. What do I mean by this? I am an early morning runner, I try to get out and back before anyone wakes up. Living in a somewhat small apartment in NYC doesn't provide me with many options when it comes to escape routes. If I want to go for a run I have to sneak out of my bedroom and pass my sons room to get out the door. Many times (too many to count) I have tried sneaking out and I get right to the door and the floor goes !CREAK! and the next thing I hear is "MAMA!" When this happens, just for a second, everything in me deflates. I go into his bedroom and greet him with a "Good Morning, Sunshine!" and he just giggles. It makes me so happy to see his face in the morning, but what's even better is seeing him wake up (with his happy face) after I have a great run under my belt. I have to admit, I have tried everything to pass over that creaky floor without making a sound. I have shuffled my feet instead of walking, baby crawled, army crawled, marked areas on the floor with tape. I have even kept him up late in hopes that he will sleep in. But some days, to get out the door is impossible even at 5:30 am. I do find a way to make it work. The other day I did sprints carrying him along. And I have done runs pushing a none jogging stroller (a jogger is on my PLEASE SANTA PLEASE list). But no matter what, at the end of the day I am a Happy Mother Runner because I have a son who says "BRAVO MAMA!" even after my most horrible run.

Cold Wind, Wet Feet, & Hot Soup!

Unless it was yesterday... YIKES!
Even though I woke up with a sore throat and runny nose, I pushed myself out the door. I was suppose to run 7 miles but ended up completing 7.71. I am extremely happy about my distance. My time not so much, but because I wasn't feeling well and haven't been running consistently this last week, I was ok with it.

I am happy that I passed up a run yesterday to do one today. Yesterdays weather was HORRIBLE! The snow storm hit the North East and hit it hard. By the time I was able to run the slush was ankle deep and I would have frozen my toes off.

Today's run had considerably better weather. Granted, there was a cold wind that stung my face when running by the water. And every now and then, I would accidentally catch a puddle getting my feet wet. But the best part of my run was finishing it and going to Brooklyn Bagel and getting myself a hot bowl of delicious veggie soup!

I guess sometimes all it takes is a decent run to make things in the world feel right again. I wasn't inside my head this time around. Instead, I was 100% into my run taking in my surroundings and feeling it. It was a completely different feeling compared to my last one.

I am also happy that I have finally found a top that doesn't try to ride up while I am running. I have been having problems with winter attire staying put. I am so excited because this top moved with me, kept me warm, and looked great. YAY!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Head Is Playing Games

The other day a family member commented on how fat I still look even after all my running. At first the comment hurt, but after overcoming the sting I started to ponder why and it dawned on me that maybe I need to diversify my exercise routine. So I decided that I needed to really focus on my strength training. I know that I have it on my calender, but it is usually the first thing I skip when I need time to get work done for school or work.

So I started my Jillian Michaels routine. Two/three times a week I am alternating between "6 weeks to a 6 pack" and "30 day shred". I am hoping that tacking this on to my running will help build a stronger core, which is what I am really aiming for (not a thinner figure but a stronger one).

Even after figuring out my new plan of attack, my early morning run yesterday made me want to scream. It was one of those runs that was just hands down horrible. I know everyone has bad runs and to truly appreciate the good ones you have to experience the bad. But it's hard when you already feel like you are floundering. "You're fat! You're fat" kept running through my head. Along with "You're slow! "You're Slow!" (slow is my critique of myself). When I finally got home I just wanted to cry. But I told myself that the only way to get over this is to fix it. So I put in 30 day shred and worked my warm muscles a little more. Afterwards I felt a lot better.

I am my biggest critic. And I never thought that this journey would be easy, but I have learned one big lesson....As much as I train my body I also need to train my mind and thoughts to help me along and not bring me down.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My love of CEP

I had a pretty big scare last night, which led me to the conclusion that there are certain running items I just can't live without.

I had just gotten the laundry back from the laundry mat (I outsource b/c it saves time) and I was putting away our massive amount of clothes. As I was making my way through the piles and piles, I discovered one lonely CEP sleeve. This is what our laundry mat does when they find missing socks, the lady nicely piles all the lonely ones together. As I held my CEP compression sleeve I remembered specifically putting both in the laundry bag. If both went in the bag that means one is missing at the laundry mat. My eyes begun to tear and I felt frustration building up inside. How could they have lost my compression sleeve. What would I do, I can't get to the store to buy new ones until Saturday. How would I complete my long run? At this point during my panic it dawned on me that this compression sleeve was what helped me get through my 3 mile wall. It stopped my shin splints after months of icing, ibuprofen, and a couple chiropractor visits that couldn't. This sleeve is what helped me complete my first half marathon. This was more then a sleeve, it was a sentimental item that made me a runner.

As I pushed back the tears, I put away the rest of the laundry with a huge feeling of disappointment. I went to bed accepting the fact that my beloved sleeve was gone for forever.

When I was getting ready to go to work/school this morning I was gathering my belongings. I decided, since it was raining, that I would run indoors at the University gym. So I started to gather my running/workout attire. As I picked up one of my moisture wick shirts, there it was (my sleeve) stuck on the back of my shirt. My heart skipped a beat. I was beyond excited and it made my day. I happily put my newly found sleeve safely with my other sleeve and smiled. Everything felt right again. And then reality hit and I remembered that I had a huge day of meetings and headaches ahead of me.

I love my CEP's :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Changing Your Wardrobe w/the Seasons

As a new runner, I have been trying to figure out how to make an easy transition from the hot summer weather to the cool fall temps. It has been a guessing game and I always seem to guess the wrong answer.  I am either always overdressed and too warm or under dressed and too cold.

So I obviously goodled my imposing problem! And I found a great blog post titled, what else, "Cold weather running" which provides  good guidelines to follow when trying to pick your daily running attire. These are just starting points to help you choose what to wear.

According to Mary Katherine Ibbetson
What to wear as the temperature dips
> 55º    – Shorts, sleeveless jersey, socks, sunglasses
45-55º  – Shorts, short sleeve jersey, socks, sunglasses
40-45º  – Shorts, long sleeve jersey, socks, sunglasses, gloves (mine are windproof)
35-40º  – Running pants or tights, long sleeve jersey, socks, running vest, sunglasses, gloves, chapstick
30-35º  – Running pants or tights, long sleeve jersey, woolie socks, running vest, headband, sunglasses, gloves with glove liners, chapstick
25-30º  – Running pants or tights, long sleeve jersey, woolie socks, running vest, headband, sunglasses, warmer gloves, chapstick
20-25º  – Craft windproof front panel pants, spandex shorts under the tights, long sleeve jersey, Craft windproof under layer, woolie socks, running jacket, running face mask, sunglasses, warmer gloves with glove liners, chapstick

The above chart gets adjusted for:    
Long slow runs – I find that I may need to wear gloves if the temperature is below 50º because my hands get colder the longer I am running
Races – I dress a little cooler because I am running faster and tend to be hotter
Windy – I may wear an extra layer (sleeveless shirt) under my top layer.
1st Cold run of the season – dress a little warmer because you are use to the warmer weather so it feels even colder than it really is.
Dark runs (early morning/night) – dress a little warmer depending on wind

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Uphill Sprints

So I told myself that I was going to stick to the plan. hahaha! I really wish I started off like that. I am running and getting my miles in. I am just not doing the strength and tempo like I really wanted to. So today I pushed myself. I dragged my butt outside and ran hill sprints. I know today was suppose to be a rest day, but I rested all weekend after the 10K.

I have read some articles on the positives of hill training. There is an article in Runners World titled "Want to Run Fast? Run Uphill!" from 2007 that covers the basics. The article states "The fast pace builds speed, but it's the hill that provides the strength benefit. Running up an incline places the same demand on your muscles as weight training--your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves must "lift" you up the slope--but they're more specific to running. And just as with plyometrics (jump drills), the "explosive" action of uphill sprints improves elasticity in your muscles and tendons, which allows you to spring quickly into action after landing."

So I thought I would give it a try. 

The hill sprints weren't bad I did a set of four with my final sprint carrying my 23 lb son. That was a workout. Now to keep it up. I guess everything is a an uphill battle, literally!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rock ‘n’ Roll New York 10K - Recap

So today my husband, brother and I ran the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll 10k in NYC.First, I want to say that the weather couldn't have been any better. It was cool but not too cool.

EXPO Packet Pickup
Swag Bag Contents
So before I get into the race I want to talk about packet pick-up yesterday. Packet pick-up took place at Super Runners on 7th ave at 12pm to 7pm. When we arrived (12:30ish), there was a long line outside.The line moved pretty fast, and once we were inside it was easy sailing. We were asked if we had our printed confirmation emails. We didn't have them, because at that point we hadn't received the confirmation email (which we got 2:30 that day). So we had to fill out our paperwork. We got our numbers and were directed to shirt and bag pickup. Unfortunately, there were only medium and large shirts available. I was irritated by this because I had ordered an extra small, but it was a blessing in disguise because I love how the medium fits. The bags also had one free Gu packet for the race and we were given a free gift coupon to redeem during out next purchase. Overall, the staff was friendly and informative.

Race Day
We started our day at 5:00am (race start at 7:30). We were out the door by 6:00. Estimated travel time was suppose to be 22 minutes. With that in mind, we thought we would have ample time to find parking and get to bag check and our corrals before the wave start. Well, we ran into huge problems starting as soon as we walked out the door. First we were out of gas and at 6:00 gas stations aren't usually open. After finding a station and filling up we got on the road. We were doing pretty well until we hit a major traffic jam going into Brooklyn. There was construction for over 3 miles, three lanes cut down to one. Traffic wasn't moving, we sat there for 40 minutes. At this point it was 7:00am. Only 30 minutes until the start. We finally got to the park but couldn't find any parking! For 40 minutes we searched, finally we found a parking garage (which wasn't busy because everyone was already running the race). We got out of the car (deciding to leave our check bags in the trunk to save some time) and booked it to the race. When we got to the start, all the corrals were already waved through. We were told by the staff that we could still run the race so we headed out of the starting line. I was just praying to finish before others and not get swept.
**On a side note, I guess public transit was worse because of the re-routed Q train which was one of the main routes to the park.

The race course was beautiful. The park was perfect this time of year. We ran the inner lap of prospect park twice to gain distance. I would have preferred a route that wasn't repetitive, but it wasn't that big of a setback. Since it was Saturday morning the park was full of dog walkers and equestrians. At mile 3, two equestrians decided that they were tired of waiting to cross the race path and just stepped out in front of us. Running around the horses wasn't the only distraction these large animals contributed. There were times during the run that I had to dodge around some horse poo. Just some minor hiccups in the race.

The course was mapped to have 3 water stops (mile 1.5, 3.5, and 5.5). During our run there were only two (mile 3.5 didn't have water). The mile 5.5 water stop also had Gu (but I passed b/c I wasn't sure  what Gu they were giving out and it sometimes messes with me).

The course also provided DJ entertainment at miles 1, 2, 3.5, 4.5, and 5.5 (these weren't individual DJ's at each because of the loop, each DJ covered 2 separate spots). They were a great addition except that one DJ at mile 3.5/start was slightly rude. My husband had told me that there were two heavier set women running by and the DJ asked where they were from. They replied Texas. The DJ proceeded to say, "Well I guess everything is bigger in Texas". MORTIFYING!

The course allowed for easy spectator viewing throughout. And there were a lot of cheer squads, who by the way, cheered for everyone. I love that, it's always a great boost of motivation.

The finish was smooth, I ran right through and was given a medal and water right away. They were also handing out cold Zico water, banana's, bagels, and power-aid. There seemed to be more than enough left over (even after seeing people grabbing more than their fare share). After I met up with my husband we headed over to the photo section (taken by Bright Room) and had a bunch of pictures taken (I will post them when I get them back). After we finished with pictures, we decided not to stay for the party because we wanted to get back to our son and spend the rest of the day enjoying the weather as a family.

I really don't have any complaints about the race. Many of the problems we ran into (traffic, parking, and horse poo) were not within the control of the organization. I did hear that people were having problems with bag pickup, but since we left our bags in the car I can't comment. I also overheard that the race had a late start, but we also were late and didn't participate in the official start so I can't say much about that.

Overall, the race was pretty good and I look forward to running it again next year.

My Race Gear