Slowly Running Again

The good news is that my plantar fibroma is gone and the plantar fasciitis has decreased in pain with treatment. I’m going to physical therapy weekly to fix some of my running asymmetries after a thorough gait analysis with a sports medicine doctor. It’s amazing how you never realize how off balance things are until you seem them on video, complete with visual cues of angles and sloping shoulders. I’m mostly working on strengthening my hips and activating my gluteus medius.

In the meantime since mid-May, I’ve been doing strength training at least weekly, spin class, and some other workouts. I went hiking upstate at Harriman State Park, which was fun and made me feel like all my aerobic fitness is not totally gone. As of Memorial Day Weekend, I’m running again a bit. I’m planning on a slow buildup in daily and weekly miles and to acclimate to the incoming heat before worrying about speed again.

The “waterfall” on our hike in Harriman State Park

I’ve managed to strike a balance between eating everything I’m craving and foods that have actual nutritional sustenance. Below are some of the more delicious dishes.

Central Park from The Met Museum’s Dining Room

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More to come once my running increases!

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Week 2 & 3 & 4 of Brooklyn Half Marathon 2019 Training

So the perks of doing a 12-week plan are that even after 2 weeks (and especially after a mentally iffy second week), you still have 10 more weeks. And then you go on vacation and get food poisoning and all your runs are still at a ‘tough’ or ‘massive’ or ‘historic’ relative effort according to Strava reading your Apple Watch Heart Rate Data. Huh. Shruggie arms emoji. I’m happy with the state of my long runs this early on, since they’re already in the double digits but I definitely have work to do on the quantity and length of weekday runs.

Week 2

Monday 3/4: Rest Day, which was a relief since the Sunday night snow was heavy and wet and not everyone had shoveled sidewalks the next morning.

Tuesday 3/5: 3.2 quick-ish miles in the lower part of Central Park with a Jackrabbit store sponsored run trying out some On Clouds shoes. Got donuts for Fat Tuesday.

Wednesday 3/6:  5.7 miles in Central Park in the late morning. My plan called for 7 miles Tuesday, 8 miles Thursday, and a rest Thursday but I needed to modify. For now, I’m better off doing short runs over more days than the 4 days of very long runs and workouts. I’m hoping to adapt better in a few weeks with the increase in volume then really take to the lactate threshold workouts.

Had more donuts just because.

Thursday 3/7: Rest day

Friday: 3/8 8.4 miles in the PM around Prospect Park.

Saturday 3/9: Skipped long run in favor of getting brunch last-minute with a friend and his daughter, trying to bake a pie from scratch (dough is so hard!), and having an early dinner of omakase at Sushi Lab.

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Santa Barbara and Hokkaido Uni

Then I met my bf for cocktails and okonomiyaki at Bar Goto.

 

Sunday 3/10: Woke up to pouring rain and a lost hour of time and skipped my club’s new member run in favor of relaxing. Saw Captain Marvel and loved it! Then baked another pie and made Instant Pot sweet and sour chicken.

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Total: 17.3 miles. I shocked myself by not running at all over the weekend but I guess I still have some time to get my mental game on track and prepare my legs for the 30+ mileage again.

Week 3

Monday 3/11: 5 easy miles, trying to keep it in Zone 3 for heart rate which invariably involves some walking and jog shuffling.

Tuesday 3/12: Rest Day and dinner at Ani Ramen to celebrate my friend’s 50K instagram followers milestone.

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The namesake Ani Ramen

Wednesday 3/13: PM Central Park loop for 6.5 miles.

Thursday 3/14: AM Central Park recovery run including the reservoir for 4.4 miles.

Friday 3/15: Early flight to SF and bopping around, visiting friends and exploring the city.

Saturday 3/16: 12 mile long run along the Embarcadero and piers of San Francisco.

Bay Bridge Sunrise
Golden Gate Bridge
Unreal SF Hills

Sunday 3/17: Light hiking around Big Basin State Park in CA and checking out the Santa Cruz waterfront. Dinner at Din Tai Fung.

Some of the Din Tai Fung Spread

Total: 27.9 miles

Week 4 – Scheduled Recovery Week

Monday 3/18: 5.2 miles exploring UC Berkeley’s campus. The hills!

Tuesday 3/19: Flight to Seattle and dinner at Walrus and the Carpenter.

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Steak Tartare
Sound Views from Ray’s Boathouse over a bottle of wine

Wednesday 3/20: 4.2 miles around Seattle. Poke and Dole Whip for lunch in the International District, buying too many Japanese Kit Kat flavors, then beers and burgers for dinner. Falling in love with Seattle one bite and view at a time.

The Gum Wall in Pike Place

Thursday 3/21: Light hiking and exploring Deception Pass State Park. Then I got food poisoning on the way back to town from Anacortes.

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View from Deception Pass Bridge

Friday 3/22: I had planned to run 8 miles but chose to take it easy in light of the food poisoning. I went to the UW campus to see a James Turrell exhibit and some other art, then flew back to NYC later afternoon after some final Seattle coffee and touring Pike Place Market.

Saturday 3/23: Rest day – platelet donation, lunch, then seeing US and my friend’s band.

Sunday 3/24: 7 miles as a cutback long run, enjoying the weather. My plan actually called for 9 miles but I had told myself it was only 8 and that 7 was good enough. Yoga in the morning (my first time since late January, whoops). Had huge Italian sandwiches in Bensonhurst after.

Lioni’s Italian Heroes

Total: 16.4 miles.

Other Running and Food in Between Halfs

Halves? I’m already kicking off my next half marathon training plan (this one being 12 weeks and very aggressive with the workouts and mileage) for the Brooklyn Half on May 19th. I have a couple tuneup races in April and May but am trying to just build the mileage in March. But I got back from New Orleans February 12th and the rest of the month flew by. Below are some eats and such from the tail end of New Orleans and back in New York.

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Jackson Square
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Cochon: rabbit and dumplings, gumbo, fried gator, brussels sprouts, catfish and rice
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Strawberry Cream Cheese King Cake (we did not find the baby)
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Muffaletta from Central Grocery
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(Fried) Seafood Eggs Benedict at Stanley
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Back in NYC; prime rib and mutton chop and sides at Keen’s for Valentine’s Day
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Some of the Galentine’s Spread
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Mochi cake, ooey gooey butter cake, chocolate chip mashmallow cookies, and my favorite salsas
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Ravioli Pizza. It’s a thing.

I did a little recovery run around the Marigny and French Quarter the day after the race, then had to skip a run the day we left New Orleans because it was downpouring and I needed to do laundry and pack. I barely ran the week I got back from New Orleans because I got a cold on Friday the 15th and took 3 days off on what was supposed to be a busy running-filled weekend. I did manage to host a small Galentine’s party and volunteer at one of my club’s races.

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I had to test that the finish line tape would break away

I started running again on President’s Day, then showed up to the start line of the Al Gordon 4 Miler Saturday the 23rd feeling pretty unprepared speedwise and still pretty snotty. I was able to do it as a progressive run and not blow up in the back half like last year, so that was nice. I’m hoping my next 4 mile race in April will go a little better. I’m not racing at all in March, but doing lots of easy/recovery miles, going long with double digits pretty much every week, and trying out some speedwork. I’m planning to post training recaps in the hopes that this is my fastest dedicated Half Marathon training cycle ever. My PR of 1:57:04 is from this past October but that was during the height of marathon training. My A Goal at this point is under 1:55, but I’ll see how the tuneup races go.

Week 10 of New Orleans Rock and Roll Half Training & Mini Race Report

And the briefest race report. I’m going to just frontload this by saying that I don’t think late winter or early spring half marathons are for me. This is the third year in a row where I arrive at the start line very undertrained and crabby with myself for paying over $100 to race without having a real shot ay my goal time. So the previous two years, I was a little closer to said goal times but now I’m older and wiser and didn’t want to have a big blowup in the back of the race. This is good in a way because it makes me really examine my intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for running. And also think about how much I, as a Southerner living in the Northeast for the past decade (!!), still don’t really like winter. We’ll see if anything changes on that front.

Monday 2/4: It was a smidge warmer than usual but I missed a morning run and already had dinner plans at the amazing Krok for some spicy Isan Thai. I had the perfect view of the route to Brooklyn Bridge Park to watch all the runners go by as my mouth slowly burned.

Tuesday 2/5: 3.4 miles on the Hudson River Park before taking a class on the erg at RowHouse.

Wednesday 2/6: Lunar New Year dinner at Golden Unicorn.

Thursday 2/7: Halal combo for lunch and dinner aka the best $6 ever spent.

Friday 2/8: Flight to New Orleans with my friend Jay. We immediately started eating everything in sight, from chargrilled oysters at Felix’s to beignets at Cafe du Monde. There was gumbo, jambalaya, and baked ham at Mother’s. Everyone else arrived later that night while I caught an all-female brass band and saw my first (unofficial) Mardi Gras parade.

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Chargrilled Oysters

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The Yat Pack?
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HAM!

Saturday 2/9: No shakeout, just more good food. Brunch at Ruby Slippers, more beignets from Cafe du Monde, carb loading with great pasta from Little Gem Saloon, then cheering on a Mardi Gras parade.

Eggs Benedict and Pancake Sampler at Ruby Slippers
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The second most delicious blackened chicken and alfredo pasta of my life (the first also from New Orleans circa 2005)

 

Sunday 2/10: Race Day (oh, did you think I just came to eat? Pretty much). I showed up to the starting line downtown unsure of what to shoot for. I thought about going out at 9:00 minute miles then trying for a negative split for the last 5K, which would have been my 3rd fastest half marathon (maybe even 2nd). But honestly I didn’t really feel trained for that. So I decided to run the first mile however I felt, then evaluate from there. I hit it in 9:30 and didn’t feel like it was sustainable as the sun came out a bit (then slunk back into the clouds) and the humidity worked its magic, so I slowed to a 10:00 minute mile pace for the rest of the race. I had some King Cake from spectators around mile 6 and a Jell-o shot at mile 12, determined to have a little fun with it.

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St. Charles Avenue
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Moose Ears for the Finish

We hung around the finish area as a group, enjoying the snacks and some free Michelob Ultra.

After showering and a nap for me, we went back to Felix’s for more poboys and chargrilled oysters, drinks at Carousel Bar and Pat O’Brien’s, then several pounds of seafood at the well-named Cajun Seafood.

2 pounds of crawfish; shrimp, snow crab legs, corn, and potatoes
Hurricanes
Huge Ass Beers on Bourbon Street

All in all, not my best half marathon or even close, but definitely one of the most fun! I think it rivals and bests the Nike Womens San Francisco Half since the spectators wanted to get us drunk.

 

Week 6 – 8 of New Orleans Rock and Roll Half Training

Week 6 should have been the second meatiest week in mileage but I was definitely still feeling the effects of the cold I caught the first few days of 2019. So then I tried and failed to pass the buck t o Weeks 7 and 8 but was somewhat thwarted by freezing temps and a vacation to Walt Disney World. It’s official: winter running is not my jam, even when properly attired. I’m very hesitant to sign up for an April/May marathon or even another January/February/March half in 2020.

Week 6:

Monday 1/7: 6 miles, split running to and from the monthly PPTC meeting. I mainly went to grab a slice of ravioli pizza, which is exactly what it sounds like. I’m planning to make my own soon but you really need a crispy crust to contrast with the pasta. TBD.

Tuesday 1/8: Rest Day

Wednesday 1/9: 5 mile outdoor run during sunset.

Thursday 1/10: 3 treadmill miles and a strength workout. Kettlebell deadlifts

Friday 1/11: Yoga class at a new-to-me studio (Sacred Sounds Yoga), focusing on stretching. My hamstrings were so tight to the point that it was comical.

Saturday 1/12: 3 treadmill miles after not being able to drag myself outside into the 20-degree weather. Somehow managed to make it to Ktown for soju and karaoke with the girls later.

Sunday 1/13: 5 frigid but sunny miles with a friend aka I didn’t do my long run. We ended at the bakery Ovenly, which semi-recently opened a new location near us in Park Slope. I had an everything croissant (a croissant with some everything bagel seasoning on it) and a hot chocolate. Brooklyn Museum and Asian fusion at Hunger Pang for dinner.

Total: 21 miles

Week 7: I took a lot of days off, so I’m going to just focus on the few days of running and the long weekend food highlights.

Monday 1/14: Somewhere between 5.2-5.7 miles at Mile High Run Club’s The Distance treadmill class. My treadmill said 5.7 and my Apple Watch’s Strava app said 5.3, so I’m inclined to go with upwards of 5.5 or so.

Friday 1/18: 5 miles along the East River in the dark and cold after work. It was so quiet and sort of beautiful. It was amazing to feel like I had the city to myself.

Emmy Squared pizza and fries for dinner.

Saturday 1/19: No pictures but I had Petee’s pie for breakfast, all you can eat Korean BBQ for lunch, and Taco Bell for dinner before a Planetarium show in Long Island.

Sunday 1/20: 10 mile late morning long run in Central Park. Later we went to Mitsuwa Marketplace in New Jersey for ramen and Japanese snacks (I bought so many Hi Chews) strolling the fancy mall in Short Hills, then Benihana for dinner.

Total: 20.5 miles

Week 8: My backup week for ‘most mileage’. Except I skipped Monday, traveled Tuesday, then walked 8 miles a day around the parks until flying back Saturday night. I did an easy 5 miles Sunday before getting groceries and trying to get out of vacation mode.

Disney food post to come.

Weeks 8 and 9 of 2018 NYC Marathon Training

Week 8

9/3: Last day in New England. 6.2 miles around Conway, NH. Then we drove to Maine and ate more lobster.

Covered Bridge in Conway, NH
The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, ME
Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery, ME

9/4: 6am flight back to NYC and went straight into work. Much needed rest day.

9/5: 3 miles at night in Morningside Park in the final throes of the city’s gross heat and humidity. Korean fried chicken and ddukbokki (and beer) for dinner.

Morningside Park Waterfall
Korean Fried Chicken, kimchi coleslaw, and calamari ddukbokki

9/6: Unintentional rest day. Finally back in the throes of meal prepping and healthier post-vacation eating.

Grain Bowl at Le Pain Quotidien

9/7: Hit snooze on my AM run, then was supposed to be going to Fast Braid Friday with Colleen Quigley at the NYRR RunCenter. But they changed the location last-minute and I didn’t get the memo. I showed up at the RunCenter and was wondering where everyone was. By the time I figured it out, it would have been tight for time and going back to the UES (which is where I had just come from and didn’t want to backtrack). I decided to go home and cook dinner and not run (the event was going to have a 1.7 mile shakeout run but I couldn’t fit all my running stuff in my work bag).

9/8: Remember last week how I slipped in that I signed up for a 5K? Yeah, that would be the TEAL 5K in Prospect Park. I’m over a year out from my 5K PR (though to be fair have only raced one since) and was hoping that I could use my higher recent volume and last week + of lower mileage as a taper. The course was my usual route in the park but the first mile was downhill, second mile was flat, and third mile had the big hill. I was able to get close to 5K PR pace on the first mile, then slowed to 10K pace on the second, then the wheels fell off on the third. I wasn’t even at half marathon pace, but closer to goal marathon pace. But my friend Chun who was doing his long run got me to push through the last quarter mile and I hit a 7:13 pace for the final 0.1 of it. I guess this is why I actually did speedwork and 5K-specific workouts last year before my PR. I grabbed the swag bag and banana then did a cooldown jog home with a teammate. Total of 6.1 miles for the day.

Saw The Nun with friends then tried out the Detroit style pizza at Lions Tigers and Squares before getting a Butterfinger blizzard at Dairy Queen.

Pepperoni and Vodka Pies at Lions, Tigers, and Squares

9/9: Since I skipped out on my long run last week, I wanted to get back up to normal (14-16 mile range) this week even though it was supposed to be a cutback long run and week overall (11 miles and 28 miles). I woke up ‘late’ at 7 to go cheer for the 5th Avenue Mile after deciding not to run up there. I cheered for a few hours then headed home and napped before my long run. Then I just didn’t do it? The rain continued and I just could not bring myself to run. I thought about pushing it to Monday night, which I did last year with some success.

5th Avenue Mile Cheering
Cherring for the NYRR Cameras

Total: 15.3 miles and no long run. Eep.

Week 9

9/10: Weather was still leaning toward the very rainy, so I did 3 treadmill miles at easy pace after deciding not to make up my long run.

9/11: I laced up my new Saucony Freedoms and ran to and from NYRR Open Run in Brooklyn Bridge Park. I did that as sort of a fartlek, alternating in the 8’s and 9’s. The gnats were out of control and I had to pull one out of my mouth, then found one in my bra later. Cool. 7.4 miles total.

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9/12: Easy loop with the Brooklyn Beer Runners for 4.6 miles. Ended with a beer then got tamales at Maya Taqueria.

9/13: Track Mile! I ran from work to Icahn Stadium where they open the track to the public every Thursday night. Coach Honerkamp puts on a timed mile series once a month that I’ve seen some friends do, and I thought I should use it as a fitness test after my abysmal 5K. I ran 2 miles to get there, did a warm-up mile with a friend, then race the mile in 7:24, 5 seconds off from my PR. I definitely think it’s time to bring back more aggressive speedwork intervals in and will be trying to throw down next month. Short cooldown jog off-watch so 4 miles total officially.

9/14: Rest day.

9/15: Long run. NYRR Virtual Trainer prescribed 17 miles. Last year, I did it as the Bronx 10 Miler then a miserable, sunny, hot 7 miles after that I cut a little short. This year, I planned it with another PPTC member who wanted similar pace and distance, so we set out together at 7am. We definitely took several water breaks as the sun peaked out of the clouds and it warmed up a bit and we paused to fuel. I had only hit 15.5 as I neared my Juice Press destination, so I finished it with a slog up the stairs in Fort Greene Park, where I ran into a friend. I practically rolled down the hill for my final bit after pausing to chat. Happy to hit 16.2 miles total.

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9/16: I stopped off at Chip in Gansevoort Market to try out their strawberry shortcake cookies. Holy moly. Much later, I did a Recovery run with Chaya around Prospect Park in the PM (moved from a planned early run in Morningside Park). Warm but breezy! 6.1 miles total and it felt great.

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Total: 41.5 miles, a new weekly high. Feeling good and back on track.

Week 7 of 2018 NYC Marathon Training

This was supposed to be my highest mileage week (well, first of 3) for this training cycle. I was headed to New England on vacation Thursday night and needed to frontload my mileage a bit, but also scheduled a platelet donation Tuesday night and fantasy football draft Wednesday night. Then I actually went on vacation and remembered that I don’t like running on highway shoulders. C’est la vie.

8/27: 8.3 miles on the Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges. Stuck to an easy pace and went by effort on the bridges.

8/28: 4 miles easy on the treadmill. Well, 3 miles very easy and 1 mile at goal marathon pace. Donated platelets after work. I’m planning to donate blood again right after the marathon.

8/29: Rest day. Did some restorative yoga and had my fantasy football draft. There was beer, there was pizza, and I drafted some strong picks. More importantly, the yoga stretches felt so good. I should be doing this weekly.

8/30: 4 progressive treadmill miles before work, then flight to New England. 2 at easy pace, 1 at goal marathon pace (9:30s but would be happy with anything under 10minute miles), then a mix for the final mile between easy and goal half marathon pace (08:50s currently).

8/31: Walked all over Portland, Maine. Ate all the lobster, plus some oysters.

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9/1: 4 miles with my friend, then we drove up the Mount Washington Auto Road. We had planned to do a moderate mileage hike, but the fog and cold at the top were too much. Went back into town and explored North Conway after.

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No views in sight

9/2: Long run fail. I was all prepped and ready for 15 miles but it didn’t happen. Mentally, I wasn’t there and didn’t feel safe running by cars on the Kancamagus Highway. I headed up Bear Mountain a bit and ran along a ski trail but my energy was kind of zapped. Threw in the towel, then later we floated down the Saco River slowly in inner tubes with some blueberry cider.

Lower Falls

Total: 21.5 miles. Surprise cutback week! I still feel really good about Week 6 and have signed up for my first race since April (a 5K, still looking for possible tuneup 10K and half).