Wednesday, September 23, 2009

20 Miles and Sunday Funday!

Okay okay... I know I am way behind and your all wondering if I completed the 20 mile run on Sunday, right??? Well... I DID!!!!

So, whats it like? Well to be honest... alot of motion. Its nothing like I expected. Yes, it was a ridiculously hard run, and I thought I was going to feel like hell during and after I finished, and I didnt! Before Sunday, 16 miles was the longest distance I have ever run and I thought that run was much harder. Granted, I ran in Central Park and battled the hills on the 16 miler, but 20? I never would have fathomed running 20 miles in my life before! I figured, the best way to tackle this 20 mile run would to rest up and just not think about it. If I thought about it, I know I would have psyched myself out. (hmmm.. I find myself flashing back to swimming again!!! DONT PSYCH YOURSELF OUT!)

So, I approached my 20 miler like this - Saturday, relaxed and made a way wicked awesome Lasagne, watched Patrick Swayze (R.I.P) movies and just chilled on the couch. Oh how it was difficult to stay in on such a beautiful night in the city! Considering it was the last official weekend of the summer, you couldnt ask for nicer weather and yep, my dedication to the marathon kept me "chillin" on my couch, ha! But thats okay... I got to enjoy the weather on Sunday from sun up to sundown and beyond...

Sunday morning, my alarm went off at 5:45, yess!!! I got to sleep an hour later than all those Upper East Siders who always get to sleep in when we run in the Park, wohoo! Still not thinking about all the horrible things that could go wrong on this run, I ate my banana 2 pieces of dry toast and a salt packet (breakfast of champions, huh?) and headed for Brooklyn. Madrigal and I hopped on the 4 train headed to Flatbush Ave and got off the Borough Hall stop in Brooklyn to find a bunch of fellow teammates wandering around trying to figure out what way to go... after walking in about 6 circles and looking at maps on our Blackberries and IPhones, we figured it out and found Cadman Plaza and the team. Sunday, everyone seemed especially awake and talking about how nervous they were, how they hoped they had enough Gu's or Shot Blockers or if they drank enough water. What was I thinking? I was thinking, dont let all these people who are all worked up break my mentality. I got my Powergels and my Gu Chomps. Thats all I need and I know I drank enough water.

Finally... after a quick warm up and discussion of the course, we broke into our groups and headed for our journey... over the Brooklyn Bridge, down the FDR past the Staten Island Ferry, through Battery Park and up the west side allllllllllllllll the way to the George Washington Bridge (and the little red Lighthouse, of course) and back to the Boat Basin at 72nd Street. Phew! Thats a mouthful!

My group consisted of the 9-9:30 miler's lead by Coach Brian who, by the way has a goal to run a marathon in all 50 states while taking photos. Who does that!? Anyways, back to the run... The idea is to be able to hold a good pace throughout the first 15 miles of the run, and then, if you have anything left you can pick up your pace. Mile 1 and 2 are always the hardest and thats where I wanted to appreciate the run the most. Up and onto the Brooklyn Bridge, the views were amazing! Clear blue skies, they NYC Skyline, the ferries, the copters, the views of the East River and Statue of Liberty - REMARKABLE!
After the 2 initial miles, I can feel my legs and body loosen up and get in motion. Over the bridge, into Manhattan and through battery park were a breeze. Onto the Hudson River Park path and along the Jersey City views, it became difficult to keep that 9:15 min pace. Everyone was warmed up and felt great so it was much easier to want to run faster. Good thing we have Claudia with us! She is so good about keeping at pace so she constantly yelled at us, "your going too fast!" "slow down!" at one point, I think she even pulled my arm and looked me dead in the face telling me to take it down a notch! it is so easy to get carried away and want to sprint it out at mile 5,6,7 but then realizing that we arent even at the half way point, it was great to know that Claudia was going to stick to that 9 minute or so pace.

Finally... after running down the west side to what seemed to be endless, we come to our halfway point at the Boat Basin. This is where the group split up into 2 smaller ones. after sucking down some water, a powergel and praying my stomach doesnt turn sour, we ventured on the second half of our journey to 178th Street - The George Washington Bridge and the "little red Lighthouse" under the bridge. Let me just tell you how deceivingly close that bridge seems when your at 80th st. When your at 125th street, it looks just as close as it did at 80th. Ugh! still another 60 or so streets to go! As much as it seemed to take forever to get to our infamous landmark, I got to see so many parts of the city I have never seen before. We ran along the west side highway, past where the Cruise ships dock, past the Intrepid (which is enourmous!), and past the Fairway Market at 125th where all I can think about is Dinosaur BBQ which is right across the street! Oh how I love that place!

Knowing that the bridge is approaching; Matt, Anisha and I contemplated our plan of attack for the last 5 miles. The 3 of us felt pretty awesome being about 14 miles into our journey so we decided to pick it up a notch for the last 5 miles...

Finally!!! The little red lighthouse is in sight! We run up the dirt path under the GW and touch the lighthouse and break free from the group. 5 miles left at this point and most of it is straightaways with one hill. We booked it! We ran the last 5 miles at 8:22 pace, thats almost a full minute faster than the previous 15. Who knew listening to Claudia whenever she said we were going way too fast would pay off in the end... thanks Clau for being our pace nazi! Ahh, and we finish! What an incredible feeling knowing I just ran 20 miles and I feel like I didnt over-exert myself. Yeah I was tired, but to know I just accomplished something I never even dreamed I would do, was such an exhilarating feeling. Total time to complete 20.25 miles = 3:05.22 - and that includes all our water/regroup stops. What a confidence booster for the marathon. Will I break 4 hours? You bet I will!!

So, what does a girl do after running 20 miles on a Sunday morning??? Brunch of course! Its Sunday, Sunday Funday! If you asked me where we went to eat, I couldnt tell ya... all I cared about was food and bloody marys flowing. Yep! Instead of rehydrate, dehydrate more! liquor please! Sacrificing a social life to run turns into catching up after the run! After brunch, Madrigal and I headed home to shower and hit the town again. Football was on and bars were crawling with people, so we met up with Cristina drank a couple of pitchers of beer while watching the end of the 1 o'clock and beginning of 4 o'clock games and then headed uptown to yet again to meet fellow TFK'ers. Matt and Sondra were nice enough to invite a bunch of us up to their rooftop to BBQ and watch the games. Sometimes I feel like my Running teammates are like my work teammates - I see more of them than I do my own family. But, then again... they are family now, my running family. After another wonderful day spend hanging with my teammates drinking, eating, swearing at the tv... it was time to call it a day... Monday was only a few hours away and I was dreading it already...

20 miles - check
football - check
foood - check
enjoy the awesome last weekend of summer - check
bed - check

another day in the RUNNING life of lee.. leesh.. ap.. blondie.. whatever you call me..

taking it easy for a bit...


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fashion's night out - oh, and a 12 mile run

I have lived in NYC for 2 years now and can honestly say, I dont do any of those touristy things here... Why? who knows! I guess because I think Im a New Yorker? Well, thursday was Fashion's Night Out. Fashion's Night Out was awesome! It was a night where retailers looked to restore consumer confidence, and celebrate fashion on the eve of the 8th anniversary of 9-11. Strolling the streets of SoHo with Claudia, we walked in and out of retail stores all night drinking Champagne and cocktails, eating chocolates, and browsed the new fashion collections. It was so diva of us! Everyone was dressed to the Nines and was anxious to be in the stores that were hosting events and concerts. Okay, so picture something out of the movies, all the stores opened up with maitre 'd type people greeting you in the doorways, d-jays pumping music, cocktail waitresses at your disposal with drinks and hors 'd vours at your fingertips!

On our little touristy adventure, Claudia and I got the chance to meet Michael Kors and Debra Messing! Sipping cocktails in Michael Kors, we had the opportunity to meet Michael and have our pictures drawn by him! It was so cool! He's from Long Island believe it or not... and he used to draw characactures at birthday parties when he was "much" younger... and yes, he did emphasize the much part. As we ventured from Michael to Prada, to Theory, to all different little boutiques, Claudia and I couldnt figure what all the hoopla was about at Intermix.. so we decided to dive into the crowd and see what the fuss was... to our surprise, Anna Wintour was being escorted in as we push through the crowd! She guest appeared at Intermix.. darn it! why didnt we know before? I would have loved to see what she was doing there... oh well I got to see what she really looks like up close - thats exciting enough for me!!!

We had so much fun surrounded by all the glamour of the fashion world! I am so happy we got to go out all pretty and not in our running clothes. We were real people in normal clothes... haha!!

aaaand then Saturday came up quick... Instead of trecking it back up to Van Courtlant park in the Bronx again, Claudia and I decided to sleep in late and run in the park. SUCH A GREAT DECISION! So, we slept in and met at 8 am (yes 8 am is late for us now, isnt that pathetic?!?) at 96th street and ventured into the park. Yep, back to the park! another field trip scheduled, and we bailed to run in the park! Big change in scenery this time though - we ran a loop on the road of the park. 6 miles of non-bridle path running! wohoo! Talk about excitement! After the 6 on the road we headed to the bridle path to finish up the run. It was actually really nice! It was remarkably cooler and less humid than many Saturdays when we do our long runs, so with ease we finished our 12 miles, sweet!!

I did notice there was a substantial amount of people running in the park this weekend... ITS CRUNCH TIME TO THE MARATHON!!! Not only was there the Mind, Body, and Fitness 4 mile race, but there were numerous running groups working together. Pretty cool! Pretty scary! I cant believe how quickly November 1st is creeping up! from today, there is 46 days until the big day! Ohhh I dont feel prepared... yikes!

This saturday will be the real test. We are running 20 miles on Sunday. Wow, 20 miles! Whatever.... BRING IT! I can do this!

'till next time!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Theres a first time for everything

As the old saying goes, "theres a first time for everything".

Tonight, I had a first all right. While running the reservoir in the park, I inhaled a bug! yup! Sucked it right in. Right into my mouth and, gulp, yep, it went right down. You know, bugs have flown into my forehead, my eye, maybe hit me in my lip but never actually caught one in my mouth. So, after this protein fortified snack, I got to thinking of all the firsts I have encountered this year training for the marathon.

Joining Team for Kids was the first group I joined since moving to NYC

Its the first time I didnt feel shy meeting new people (and I love each and every TFK'er Ive gotten to know)

First time I ever heard of AND ran the Bridle Path (and surely wont be the last!)

Ran my first New York Road Runners race

Ran my first Half Marathon

Realized that pedicures were a waste of money

Gained 10 lbs and its the first time I didnt freak out about gaining weight

First time I gave up my friday night social life so I can run @ 7:00 am on Saturdays.

It was the first time I ran 12 miles in the rain and didnt want to turn around and go home

I bought my first pair of running shorts, moisture wicking shirts, and my first pair of running sneakers that were "proper" running sneakers.

I realized how much I really do love running

I experienced my first Ice Bath (yes, thats a bath filled with ice and I like it!)

Add today to the list... FIRST TIME I SWALLOWED A BUG!!

Im about 6 weeks away from the marathon, yikes! But Im sure I will have many other firsts... keep posted!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

What is the real definition of Labor Day? Ahh Google, gotta love Google. According to my Google search, Labor Day "is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country." (US Dept of Labor) And, believe it or not, the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated in New York City in 1882.

Why did I ask what the definition of the day was? well... because I decided to take some days off and wanted to make sure I was celebrating my days "Labor Free". Well, sorta anyways...

Although I took thursday and friday off from work so I can play, I still had to get some serious mileage under my belt. Thursday I was supposed to do a 4-6 mile run, but that failed to happen because my dear friend Whitney told me we were headed up to the Giants/Pat's preseason game in Foxboro! Wohoo! Thanks Whit!!! It was totally worth skipping my run. Especially those Chili-Cheese Fries we devoured. Hey Whit, dont look at them making it, just think about how good they will be, haha!

Friday... what did I do friday? oooh, right! I got my hair cut, FINALLY! So, did I run, you ask? NOPE! I got a fresh new style, why would I mess up that awesome blowdry? I can never get my hair to look as nice as it does when I get it done, I dont want my sweat to mess it up.Yep, call me a Princess, but I didnt pay all that money to mess it up. So, Instead, I rode my bike. I rode from my house down to the Farmington Canal entrance by my parents, scooped up Mike, Whitney's significant other and rode all the way through Hamden and Cheshire to the end of the trail and back home. It was awesome, nice and cool out and I forgot how much I missed my bike...
After my bike ride, I decided to go back to the city to run on saturday morning. I knew that if I wanted to stay on track with marathon training, I would have to make sure I ran the 16 miles that was outlined for us to do. Anisha was my lifesaver! If it werent for her to email me on friday and ask if I wanted to run with her, I would have moaned and groaned and tried to do it by myself here in good 'ol H-Town. I highly doubt I would have done the 16 if I stayed here. So, after sleeping in my own bed, I got up and met Anisha at 7 am by the 62nd St entrance of Central Park. We did a quick stretch and headed for the road. We decided to follow the outlined workout and complete one loop around the park on the road and then 2 2.7 loops of the Bridle Path (the dirt path). We chit-chatted it up the whole time and kept great pace with one another. After our loop around the park, we headed up the Bridle Path. It sounds like it wouldnt be so bad, but transitioning from hard pavement to dirt and gravel is a difficult adjustment. We felt ourselves getting pretty sluggish not speaking on the hill climbs and then telling eachother how much we love the downhills. We saw many other TFK'ers running with partners through the park as well... kinda funny to see everyone off on their own and not practicing all together. We said our Hi's and gave eachother words of support and kept on our 16 mile journey. By mile 14, Anisha and I were pretty hurting. We knew we only had half a loop left and a nice downhill left to the bottom of the Bridle Path, but our legs were tired and heavy and the aches and pains were starting to set in. When it was all over, we looked at eachother and were so happy we did it. You know, after it was all said and done, it wasnt so bad. We both accomplished our longest runs ever and we didnt stop once, well except to get water of course! That's a great accomplishment. Kudos to us! at 10:00 am, our 16 miler was over, and we had our whole days and weekend ahead of us! Wohoo! BBQ's and Parties were on my mind!
The remainder of the weekend flew by! BBQ saturday night, Sunday a Brunch for Brian's Coast Guard Graduation, Lunch with Nan, BBQ at the Simone Family's, Yardan's beach house/bonfire. Here, there, and everywhere!
Today, It was a great feeling to sleep in and know I didnt have to "Labor" and can just relax! And, for the most part I did that... other than the 5.5 miler I did this morning. After perennial flower shopping with my Pops, I hit the pavement and pounded out my daily work out so I can enjoy my day before getting back to the grind in the morning.

So, Labor Day is a great day after all. Thank you U.S. Dept of Labor for making this day a holiday!