Not in Training (Yet)

I’m been running irregularly for the last 6 weeks, plus a fair amount of strength and cross-training as well as weekly physical therapy. I’m not signed up for any races this fall but am building a base to start training for the Richmond Half November 16. I’ve made progress in PT in terms of hip strengthening but still have a ways to go. The plantar fasciitis is 90% gone (pain-wise). I’m definitely regretting running through it for so long before, during, and after the NYC Marathon and not getting it checked out sooner. Having my current health insurance with my job at a health system means no co-pays for specialist visits or physical therapy, which really helps. I’m planning to see my physiatrist again soon then do a re-assessment with the sports medicine doctor to see if there are improvements in my form.

Summer so far has been very sweaty, both through heat wave temperatures and a lot of working out. Vacation #1 was to Fort Lauderdale in early June, which was hot, sunny, and unbearably humid. But the water was clear and warm and we rented a red convertible Mustang and zoomed around South Florida, eating stone crabs and Cuban.

Scooting around Fort Lauderdale June 5-8
Stone Crabs in Hollywood FL

Back in NYC, I’ve been taking a lot of workout classes through ClassPass, random deals, and getting a free birthday SoulCycle class that turned into 3 when my class was unexpectedly canceled due to a fire drill. Otherwise, it’s been a lot of time on the elliptical as well as doing my PT exercises and some strength training. Runs have been mostly solo, but I’m looking forward to getting back in with a group.

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Before a run (after was red, sweaty, and with a dead gnat in my sports bra)

I only kind of have full fall marathon training FOMO because the temperatures do not have me missing the Saturday long runs. I have another month of base building before half training kicks off (if I follow a 12 week plan), and while the heat won’t break before then, I’m happy to skip it. Plus, Vacation #2 is to Austin, Texas and it’ll be even hotter there. I’ll hopefully get back on track with checking in weeklyish before then.

Now for a brief and highly curated selection of eats lately.

Ube and pandan baked goods at Purple Dough
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1/4 the menu at Clinton Hall
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Seafood Paella at Bazar

That’s it for now!

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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!

Weeks 5 & 6 of Brooklyn Half 2019 Training

A great couple weeks of running and pretty boring weeks for food. After last week’s vacation to the West Coast, I got back on my meal prep grind and started really looking at (ok, and tracking to some extent) what I’m eating.

Week 5

Monday 3/25: Rest day. Had a huge Korean BBQ (and other entrees) feast at The Woo in SoHo.

Tuesday 3/26: 5.5 treadmill interval miles at Mile High Run Club’s The Distance. I was feeling ready for some speed again and it felt good. I’m planning to do some shorter distance races this summer or a tuneup 5K if I can find a good one in April. I need to practice running more at my 5K and 10K paces as well as doing more aggressive half-pace tempos.

Wednesday 3/27: 3.5 easy miles on the way to yoga. I had planned to run home but the temperature was dropping and I hadn’t brought gloves.

Thursday 3/28: Rest day. I did a strength circuit workout which kicked my ass. And my abs. Days of DOMS.

Friday 3/29: 7.5 mile run-commute home from work. It was overcast and in the low 50’s and just perfect. I felt really strong plodding up the Manhattan Bridge and could have kept going for a few miles.

Saturday 3/30: I went out for my long run mid-afternoon to meet with other folks, still feeling pretty thrashed from the strength workout DOMS Thursday and the longer runcommute Friday. I got 5 miles of progressively faster miles in solo, then 2.5 quick miles with the group, then did a slower cool down home for 8.3 miles total. I should have gotten in closer to 11 since last week’s was a cutback, but I scheduled poorly.

Sunday: 3/31: Unplanned rest day. Got brunch with friends, got a haircut, and bought some groceries to make Instant Pot short rib ragu, which was delicious. I served it over chickpea penne pasta.

Total: 24.8 miles. Almost back on track with mileage but definitely missing that 5th day.

Week 6:

Monday 4/1: Rest day. Ate dinner at The Osprey in Brooklyn Bridge Park and though it was cold (in the lower 40’s), I enjoyed staring at the water and seeing the first signs of spring.

Tuesday 4/2: 4.6 easy PM miles in Central Park.

Wednesday 4/3: Rest day

Thursday 4/4: Unplanned rest day from running, but I did the same strength workout as the week before and upped the dumbbells for arm rows from 7.5 pounds to 10 pounds. Way less DOMS this time!

Friday 4/5: 4.4 miles in the (relative) cold and rain. I came prepared with gloves and a hat (Lululemon’s Baller Cap has such a long brim, it’s great for rain). I had to stop by Petee’s Cafe to pick up some chocolate cream pie for my bf’s birthday and nabbed myself a slice of banana cream pie as well.

Saturday 4/6: Longish (6.8 miles) run where again my end destination was for desserts. I had scheduled a run to the new location of Bibble & Sip in Chinatown with friends to get some of their cute stuffed cream puffs. Alas, they were closed for the weekend after experiencing too much demand at their opening night party. So we hoofed it slowly to Supermoon Bakehouse for stuffed croissants and donuts and coffee.

Sunday 4/7: 6.7 easyish miles, soaking up the sun and enjoying the Brooklyn waterfront with my friend Alison.

Total: 22.5 miles; I really need to up my long runs again and add that fifth day of running.

 

Week 1 of Brooklyn Half Marathon 2019 Training

I used my guaranteed entry for the Brooklyn Half (from deferring last year’s due to peroneal tendon injury) and am setting it as my goal race for the spring season. I’m also doing the Broad Street 10 Miler again since I had to defer last year’s entry. I’m using a 12 week half marathon training plan from Pete Pfitzinger’s Faster Road Racing with some adaptations. He’s big on mid-to-long midweek mileage (8 miles for a Wednesday run) and keeping the long runs double digits until taper.

Monday 2/25: Day 1 was a rest day and the weather was awful, so I was glad to take it.

Tuesday 2/26: The plan called for 6 general aerobic miles, but I did 2 easy, 3 tempo, and 1 easy.

Wednesday 2/27: Rest Day and my club’s annual Awards Night.

Thursday 2/28: My plan called for 8 miles, but I was so done after only 5.

Friday 3/1: I ended up doing my long run this night, with a loop of the park, then running to and around Williamsburg with my club and ending with snacks and beer before eventually getting pizza. 10.2 miles total

Macaroni and Cheese Pizza from Vinnie’s Pizzeria

Saturday: Rest day, and I really mean rest. Went to a Korean spa and got a massage.

Sunday: 8.3 miles with friends in the afternoon before more snow.

Total: 29.5 out of a prescribed 31. Not bad for my first real week back at it.

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
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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 9 of New Orleans Rock and Roll Half Training

Off to the races! I had originally planned for a 2 week taper but after not getting in the miles on vacation, I moved my long run to a Monday. Friday February 1 also kicked off a low-sugar month for me. I get one dessert a week and cut down on added sugar (and try to incorporate more fruit into my diet). No more almond croissants with my coffee and no baking batches of cookies that I then eat half of. I’m saving up my desserts for beignets in New Orleans and some cake for Valentine’s or Galentine’s.

Monday 1/28: 11.7 mile long run around Manhattan after work.

Lit-up rock art installation along Hudson River Park
Close-Up of light strips in the rocks

Tuesday 1/29: Quick rowing workout at the gym

Wednesday 1/30: 3 easy treadmill miles at home on the coldest day of the year.

Thursday 1/31: 4.2 Woodway treadmill miles at the new Mile High Run Club on the Upper East Side during the High 45 class. I had to jump off and foam roll my left hamstring; I initially freaked out for a quick second and thought “high hamstring tendinopathy” but am pretty sure it was just sore from long run and not rolling.

Friday 2/1: (Hot) Vinyasa Flow at Y7 Yoga. This was a total sweatfest but also a great stretch. I had an acai bowl after for dinner (which is basically dessert) but at least I ate some real fruit.

Saturday 2/2: Unplanned rest day.

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Katsu Sampler at Tonkatsu Matsunoya

Sunday 2/3: 3.5 miles with a friend and Bandit, Elle’s rat terrier. Super Bowl pizza and wings as I slowly watched the life force drain from myself (and the Rams).

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Total: 22 miles. At one point when my hamstring was tight Thursday night, I thought about dropping down to the 10K in New Orleans. But at this point, I’m going to run the half and take it easy. I might be able to do it at my future Brooklyn Half goal pace + 10-15 seconds and have pretty even splits since it’s a very flat course. The weather is looking a bit warm and sticky, so that’s also a factor. I don’t want to have another humidity blowup like at 3M last year. TBD! Week 10 and race report to come, then I’ll have a few weeks before the official start of a 12-week training plan for the Brooklyn Half.