canyonlands pr

Last Saturday was the big day. I wasn’t sure what to expect. After the horrible run I had had the previous Saturday, I just wasn’t feeling super confident about the run. That said, I was excited to be doing and I was really excited to be running it with my brother and sister-in-law. And by “with” I mean that we would all be running the same course…

We had to be on the buses to get to the starting line by 8:00 am for the race which started at 10. Last year, this was MISERABLE. It was so cold I literally wasn’t sure I was going to make it. But this year…20 degrees warmer and it was totally manageable. The one concern was the wind. And it proved to be a serious issue.

The routine, pre-race, is to have this super yummy protein shake that Cherity makes and a half a banana. Right before the race, Cherity gave me some pills that are supposed to help with lactic acid build up or something. (It’s a good thing I was never a club girl because I’m sure if someone had handed me a pill and told me it would give me energy, I probably would have taken it.) I popped some ibuprofen, as well. Normally, I bring some with me too, but I just didn’t want to this year. In fact, the only things I had with me were Shot Bloks and a Red Bull shot…both of which zipped into my shirt.

The first two miles were misery. Seriously, I’ve never struggled with muscle pain, but my calves were on FIRE! I was really worried. And really frustrated. But then, somewhere during the third mile, the pain finally went away. Maybe that’s when the ibuprofen kicked in?

While the wind sucked (12 miles of headwinds with only the occasional–and very minor–breaks), the temperature was perfect and it was just a little overcast. Ideal. I don’t know if it was the Red Bull shot or the pills I popped, or just some will power, but during the first 10 miles I was able to keep a great pace. I was averaging exactly where I wanted to. At the 10 mile marker, I figured out my time should I continue to run at the same pace. And then I watched as that time slipped from my grasp.

By mile 11, my feet were really hurting. I knew I had at least one blister, and while it was manageable, I just couldn’t keep going at that pace. So I slowed down. And then I walked for a while. Then I ran some more. And so an so forth… My dad, sister, and my brother’s two kids were all still hanging out on the street outside our condo when I walked past (there was no saving face at this point…I had to walk for a while). It was so fun to have them there and be able to say hi.

When I got to the last mile, I was determined to run it. And then that determination just went away. I was exhausted. But I managed to pull it together for the last quarter mile or so. Yeah. It was rough. But I finished. And I finished at exactly the time I had said was the maximum I would be happy with. Exactly 10 minutes faster than last year. And a PR for me on this course!!!

And, by way of information (and because I was curious and couldn’t remember) I looked up my time for the fastest half I’ve ever run; 24 minutes faster than what I ran this one at. This is my new goal for the third half I will run this year. I’m not sure when or where I’m going to run the third one, but that’s my goal and I really think I can do it. As for the number two…it is eight weeks away in Philadelphia and I will be doing it with the lovely Anne. My goal for that…cut 10 more minutes. I know that sounds ambitious, but I have a plan. Wish me luck!

ETA: A quick shout out to my brother and sister-in-law. Cherity cut 13 minutes from her time last year (beating my all time PR)! And Justin cut 29 minutes off his time!!! Talk about super stars! I’m so glad that they were willing to do this with me last year and I’m so proud of my sister-in-law who I remember saying at one point in time that she never had any desire to run that far. She’s amazing!!!

running fail (or "my need for high achievement is ruining my life")

On Thursday I was lucky enough to get an hour with the head of HR at my company. This is kind of a big deal and one of the reasons I chose to come work for this company. He is just a really great man and even with all he has going on he’s willing to make time for me. Anyway, not the point. The point is that during this conversation, he told me about an article one of his friends is writing for HBR about people who have a high need for achievement. We discussed this at length as it relates to work and life, etc. We talked about the need to achieve vs. actual ambition. Two very different concepts, and not the point of this post, but I will say that I am motivated by my need to achieve and not actual ambition (i.e. if there was no one to tell about my running, I probably wouldn’t do it). And “motivated” is probably too positive a word to describe what is actually going on. I’d almost call it a disease…like my other diseases this one is in my head and all about behavior.

So, what does this have to do with running? I will tell you.

I decided, since I had run 12 miles the Saturday before and now mentally know I can finish a half marathon this coming Saturday, that I would only run six miles on Saturday, but that I would actually push myself to run those six miles like it was a race. My mentoring schedule got switched, so I got to sleep in, and didn’t end up heading out the door until about 1:00 pm.

When I left my apartment, something felt off on my hands. I checked to see if I had rings on (I wear rings every day, but not when I run…I’m kind particular about such things). No. No rings on my fingers. I figured maybe it was that. When I got to the park (remember how “the park” is “Central Park”? I wonder if that will ever stop being special for me…) I realized what I had forgotten. My watch. I debated for a couple of minutes whether to walk back home and get it. I decided it wasn’t worth it. While the park is only a couple of blocks from me, those are Avenue blocks, not Street blocks (ie about 1/2 a mile in total) and I had a feeling if I went home, I wouldn’t leave again.

I told myself this would be good. I could run without the pressure of a watch. I could just run to run. And that lie worked for about 2.5 miles. And then sheer willpower kept me running for the next 1/2 mile. And then…I just gave up. I stopped caring if I was running or walking. If I wasn’t going to be able to say how fast (or slow) I’d done it, what was the point? And that’s when I realized that I have a serious achievement issue. I knew this when it came to jobs. It’s not likely I will ever be an entrepreneur because it’s the competition factor that makes me work as hard as I do. I like being compared to people…when I know I will win.

You might be asking yourself how that works with running if I’m so slow. It’s a good question. The way it works with running is this. I know I can’t beat anyone else, so I just run against myself. And if you’ve ever been running with me, you’ll know that unless we pace similarly, I will just quit and let you go ahead. I can’t stand to be the one holding someone back…and knowing that I’m holding someone back…and knowing that I’m not as “good” as someone else. This is a serious flaw. And it’s not news to me, but it was seriously so hilarious (read: sickening) to see it play out like this so soon after my conversation with the big boss.

Needless to say, my watch is at the top of my packing list for my trip tomorrow. And here’s hoping that my total lack of running on Saturday (I get that three miles is still something, but when you compare it to 13.1, it’s kind of small beans) will not kill me in Moab. And with that, I must go pack. I have to be at work early tomorrow and I head to the airport straight from the office. Wish me luck!!!

12 miles in central park

I knew all week that I needed to run 12 miles on Saturday. I was planning for it. I scheduled my Friday evening so I could get plenty of sleep. And that would have worked if not for a phone call from my dear sister. Sometimes family really must come first. So, I didn’t get home or in bed as early as I had hoped. Such is life.

I set my alarm as if I was going to get up early enough to run the 12 miles before I had to go to mentoring. But then, when my alarm (or maybe alarms) went off, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I kept watching the time tick on…not sleeping, but not waking, just thinking about how I should be getting up.

But I didn’t get up until I had to for mentoring. I laid in bed until almost 11 am. I never do that, but I just couldn’t get up. I was so tired. It had been a long week. And yet, I knew I was going to have to go running. So, I mentally prepared for it.

On my way to mentoring, I grabbed a banana and a bagel so I would have plenty of time to digest it before running. I knew I’d have to get out the door almost as soon as I got home, so I had to eat.

And now, a digression: it’s an interesting thing to eat when you view food as fuel rather than something to be enjoyed. Not that I didn’t enjoy the banana and bagel. I did. But I also knew that I had to eat these two things; the potassium in the banana and the carbs in the bagel would be exactly what my body needed to make it the 12 miles I was going to push it. Eating felt good. Not like something I shouldn’t be doing. Which is how I often feel when I’m eating. Even if I’m making good choices. But eating to feed my body so it can do the things I want it to do changes how I feel about food. I wish I could always eat that way. But such is not the way my body (or my emotions) work…

Back to the running. I left mentoring about 15 minutes early because I knew I wanted to run my 12 miles in Central Park and I did not want to be running after dark. There was a very small window of opportunity to make that happen.

It was a lovely day and I actually wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt. It was a little cold to start, but I warmed right up. Given my knee and how it’s been feeling, I made sure to actually stretch once I warmed up. And then I was off.

For the entire first loop (six miles) I was having debates in my head about whether I really needed to run all 12 miles. Wouldn’t nine be enough? But as I approached the end of the first loop, I knew the answer. No. Nine would not be enough. Running is 90% mental. In order to finish the 13.1 miles I will be running in two weeks, I knew I needed to know I could do 12. And so, I turned around and reversed the loop. (I couldn’t stand the thought of repeat exactly what I had just done.) The first half I pushed myself. The second half, my only goal was to keep going. And yet, somehow, I managed to do the two loops in almost the exact same amount of time.

The bad news is that my time was a bit slower than I was hoping. The good news is that the race course I will be running in two weeks is much less hilly. In fact, most of it is downhill. So, I’m thinking in the next week or so, I will put in a good push with some serious training runs, focusing on speed work, and then I will enjoy a relaxing couple of days in Vegas pre-race, and if all goes well, I should be able to cut 10 minutes off my time from last year. Here’s hoping.

my dad is old (and other random thoughts)

I got to go to Utah this weekend to spend it with my entire family for my dad’s 70th birthday. I am number four of five siblings and my dad was not super young (at least not by the standards of the time) when he married my mom. It makes sense. But it’s weird to think he’s five years older than my grandpa was when he died. Life and death. Such interesting things to think about.

Anyway, it has been four years since my entire family had been together. Coordinating such a gathering for 17 people is kind of crazy. That’s right. There are seventeen of us now. In my effort to not overly orchestrate the entire thing (I tend to be the planner of these things), I made no real plans other than we would be going to dinner on my dad’s actual birthday. It was great. And low stress. We played in the snow. We played at this indoor gym. We played at my brother’s house. And we ate. And ate. And ate. And ate. (Pictures of the gathering and playing to come…I did not take any eating pictures.)

Oh, and I ran with my younger brother and sister-in-law. And by with, I mean we followed the same route. They are both quite a bit faster than I am to begin with and then you add in the altitude that I’m not used to, and well, I ran 9 miles for their 10.

So, a couple of thoughts from the weekend:

  1. I love my family. I mean, we have issues, but I really do love them. Especially my nieces and nephews. 
  2. I have the cutest nieces and nephews in the world. (I’m not biased at all…). Seriously, from the 16 year old to the 2 year old, they are just so adorable. It is so fun to see them develop and grow and become their own little people (or big people…my nephew has got to be at least 6′ now). I also decided I cannot have children because the odds of cuteness just aren’t in my favor. I mean, after seven absolutely darling cherubs (it’s a term my grandma loves), I can’t imagine I would get so lucky. And they LOVE me. There’s nothing that makes me smile more than my nieces or nephews say, “Hi Auntie Chlo-Chlo” or “Cwo-Cwo” as is the case with two of the littles.
  3. Running at altitude is not easy when you’re not used to it. And running down the canyon that has no been plowed and has four inches of fresh snow…is cold and wet. Really wet. More to come on this. It deserves it’s own post.
  4. My family is a bunch of enablers when it comes to eating. Doesn’t matter how hard you try, somehow my sister and her “I need a treat” just sucks you in. And of course, she’s the skinniest of us. (Okay, I’m really just putting the blame on her…we all did it.)
  5. I love that I have somehow managed to get my brother and sister-in-law on this road race bandwagon. While I don’t love that I’m the slowpoke, I do love that they will be running the half marathon with me a few weeks from now.
  6. I am too old to be flying the redeye and thinking I will somehow be functional. At least I was smart enough to plan to work from home today, so I got to take a little nap. But seriously, not my favorite thing. And this time around, I had a kid who decided he needed to lay on my shoulder while he slept. I was annoyed. 
  7. I love New York, but someday it’s nice to take a break every once in a while!
  8. And this has nothing to do with the post, but everything to do with my week as I’ve been listening to this album non-stop (when I haven’t been hanging with my fam) since I downloaded it last Tuesday. Adele is just amazing!

And one more.

nine miles

Let’s talk about how much I didn’t want to run this morning. And how much I didn’t want to get out of bed early enough to get my run in before mentoring. And how many times I didn’t run this week when I should have.

I should have been out the door of my apartment by 8 am. I got out of my door at 9 am. First, I couldn’t make myself get out of bed. My head hurt. My stomach was a little queasy. My knee still isn’t feeling great. Every excuse…and those excuses were almost enough. Almost.

When I finally did get out the door, I knew it was going to be rough. I was not going to have time to do any walking. And nine miles with no walking when my longest run this round of training was a six miler three weeks ago was not going to be easy. Or fun.

I warmed up on my way to Central Park. My plan was to do two laps around the Reservoir and then the six mile loop. I headed up to the Reservoir which took a little bit of time because the way up was super icy only to discover that the trail around it was basically a skating rink. Not sure why I thought it might not be, but 10 minutes into my run, I had yet to actually do any running. The minutes were ticking away. New plan: the six mile Central Park Loop and then I’d figure it out. I had six miles to think about it. Plenty of time.

The first three miles of the run were great. I was pacing a little faster than I had anticipated. Nothing was hurting. It wasn’t too cold. And then, when I hit mile four and had yet to see a street vendor with water, I started to worry a little. I hadn’t brought any water with me, just money, because there are always street vendors and that way I don’t have to carry it. But, just as I was thinking I would have to take a little detour to find a bodega, I saw a vendor on the horizon. I took a quick break to buy water and then allowed myself a little walking time to drink some and down two Shot Blocks. And then, I was off again.

The rest of the loop went off without a hitch. I mean, there were a couple of hills that made me want to scream and, at one point, I thought I was going to puke (too much water too fast), but then everything balanced out and I was fine. I decided I would just do the last three miles on CPW, so when I finished the loop, I headed south again. I was amazed to discover that I was still pacing at my goal pace. Mile seven was quick. Mile eight my feet were starting to hurt, so I allowed myself to walk a quarter of it. And then, I was back running for the last mile.

I cooled down on my way home. Because of my late start, I was only going to have 30 minutes to shower and get out the door–no time to eat, which is never a good idea after running that distance–so I grabbed a chocolate milk on my way home and chugged it. Some of you might think that’s weird (I did too the first time it was given out at the end of a race), but it really is a perfect recovery drink; carbs, protein, a little fat…exactly what I needed.

I got home and discovered the pain in my feet was a result of a couple of blisters. With no time to deal with those, I was grateful for my oh-so-comfy Uggs to throw on. I rushed out the door to get to mentoring, only to discover that my trains weren’t running…so I ended up being an hour late anyway. It’s a good thing I didn’t know that my trains weren’t going to be running, or I probably wouldn’t have gone running, but I’m so glad I did.

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again. There is nothing like running that helps me forget all my stupid drama, all of body issues, and just appreciate how great my life is. And I just don’t think that starting my Saturday mornings with a run through Central Park will ever get old. Seriously. What a fun life I have!

Today’s top songs:

  • Dancing in Heaven – Q-Feel
  • Stereo Love – Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina
  • Alors on danse – Stromae
  • Teenage Dream – Glee Cast
  • Feel It In My Bones (feat. Tegan and Sara) – Tiesto
  • Not Broken – Goo Goo Dolls
  • Sick – The Lovemakers
  • Mercy – Duffy
  • Superstar (feat. Matthew Santos) – Lupe Fiasco
  • S&M – Rihanna (p.s. in case you didn’t get it from the title, this song is super trashy)
  • I Like It (feat. Pitbull) – Enrique Iglesia
  • Lollipop (Candyman) – Aqua
My goal for next week: following my training schedule every day but Wednesday. (I’m going to see Ian Axel that night with Kelly…working out is not going to happen…unless I somehow manage to get up really early, which I’m not planning on doing.)