New Year, New Running Goals

2019 was not my best year for running (though many other good things happened in my career and personal life). I hit just over half of my yearly mileage goals (~640 miles out of a desired 1200), only eked out one PR (Richmond 5K), and DNS multiple races (most due to my injury and then sadly Ted Corbitt 15K in December due to illness). My mindset suffered even once I was cleared to run and I was definitely scared to put the pressure on my body and risk injury again. Then just before the holidays in December, I took a little week-long break from running due to mental fatigue and due in part to a murder in one of my local parks which shook me up.

After wrapping up work and flying across the country on December 18th, I did a PureBarre class in Las Vegas, then hiked a few miles in Zion National Park, then finally felt the urge to run again in San Diego. And it’s been decent ever since, whether on treadmill or trail or road. My mental game is getting stronger; I guess doing various workouts and even some heart rate zone training on the treadmill helps. I’ve bundled up and gone outside to run during cold gale warnings and I’ve been pushing myself to run in the rain more often, though it can be a bit annoying since I wear glasses. My new mental mantra as I try to push toward some speed or grind up some hills is the simple yet effective “You can do hard things”. I’ve got the same PR goals as last year in mind (sub-24 5K, sub 52-10K, sub 1:55 Half) and am signed up for a 4 miler, two 10 milers, and a hilly half in Atlanta between now and early April. Other races and possibly a fall full marathon TBD. I’m not sure where the spring season and 2020 will take me, but I’m excited to enjoy the process.

Some fun eats were had both before and during my travels, notably fish tacos in San Diego and getting all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ twice. I started drinking more nitro cold brew on the west coast, but have eased back into my normal coffee routine back in NYC. Plus that stuff’s usually $5+.

Hometown BBQ in Industry City NYC: pastrami sandwich, jalapeno cheddar hot link, mac & cheese, and a Topo Chico
img_9050
Uni on top of roe at Uogashi

 

Mid-November through Mid-January by the numbers:

Longest long run: 11 miles with Gabby, including 3 before the Joe Kleinerman 10K and 2 after. I’d only planned to do 8 but it was so great having a warmup and cooldown partner and getting to catch up. So now my long runs are set until my half 3/1 and second 10-miler 4/5.

States run in: California, Virginia, and Massachusetts (and New York), plus some hiking in Utah and some PureBarre in Nevada (thanks to ClassPass).

Fastest speed: 7:19 minute mile in the wild/outside a couple times and 6:00 minute mile on the treadmill at Barry’s Bootcamp.

Hot yoga classes taken: 4, 3 of which were at Y7 on ClassPass. I’m surprised at how much I love this!

Highest mileage week: 26. Now to build for a bit.

img_9106
Zion National Park

Richmond 8K 2019 Race Report

My action shots from MarathonFoto are so awful, so there aren’t many photos to share. But I had a really great race, despite it being only my 2nd in the last 9 months. The others were Al Gordon in February where I was sick, then a tuneup 5K last weekend. And of course, many months of being injured in between. I’m so glad this was my comeback! I was hemming and hawing about doing the half in Richmond but knew that I wouldn’t PR and didn’t feel extra ready for the distance as my long runs had dropped off since mid-October. Plus, by the time I signed up, the half cost $100 and the 8K was only $40. Done!

After flying in Thursday night and going to bed at the late hour of 11pm, I skipped doing a shakeout on Friday. After picking up my packet, I ate way too much at ZZQ, Richmond’s new Texas-style BBQ joint. Then I had some pasta for dinner and slept poorly until my 5am wakeup call. The 8K went off right at 7am, so I hopped out for a 1 mile warmup and settled into the corrals. Times under 48 minutes were Corral 1, and I was shooting for 43. My previous 5 mile best time was 43:28 and I was pretty sure I could get this under an 8:43 pace.

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 3.34.43 PM
Those Splits tho

I met a fellow NYC-er in the corrals and we chatted for 5 minutes, then we were off! I took it out a smidge too fast then got concerned on mile two (plus that mile had the most elevation increase). Then after the turn onto Mulberry and move to Grace Street came the cobblestones. At one point, my foot got temporarily lodged into one and I stumbled. That was a real adrenaline rush and I recovered then was able to speed it up on the fourth mile. Then came the real downhills. I remembered the finish from running the Richmond Marathon two years ago and loved it again.

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 3.38.34 PM.png
Flying downhill

Screen Shot 2019-11-17 at 4.55.12 PM

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 3.39.09 PM
PR Victory!

I was done by 7:43 and met my parents at the post-finish party. I rang the PR bell, ate a banana and my Dad kindly purchased me some Richmond gear to warm me up until we got back to the car. My pockets are bulging with the snacks I took at the end, though I skipped the Papa John’s pizza this time.

Then I met up with college girlfriends and we ate amazing food at Perch.

If my lottery entries for Berlin and NYC in 2020 are both no-gos, then I am strongly considering running the Richmond full again. I recommend their race series to everyone.

Richmond 2019 Training

This post originally titled Richmond Half 2019 Training and was supposed to cover everything in September, but then I never published it in September. Or October. My running has been pretty good (some weeks higher in mileage than others) but I’ve kept my weekend long runs right around 10 miles for the most part.  Essentially, I feel like I could run a half at any time, but I couldn’t hit a PR. I got medical clearance from my doctor and PT to run a half this fall/winter (but not a full marathon, which is fine). But the consistency of training never really happened. So I’m just going to do the 8K in Richmond on 11/16/19.

I moved out of Brooklyn in September and have been exploring Central Park a lot more. There are so many paths and trails and things to see (namely waterfalls) off the main 6-mile path. My goal is to run them all, plus run the entire perimeter of the park on 5th Avenue and Central Park South/West/North. It’s a lot easier to get to the many NYRR and other races in Central Park now, so I’ve popped by to cheer on friends or pace long runs.

In late September, I did a Tracksmith-sponsored long run in Rockefeller Park State Preserve and loved hitting the trails. The hills were killer, but I stayed steady and on the slower side. Obviously I wore Tracksmith.

70643294_10156866466862428_3586727227544305664_o

I went to Chicago in mid-October to spectate the marathon (for the third time in four years) and see friends from across the country and eat deep dish pizza. I ran a Nike-sponsored 4×800 race at Soldier Field and was pleased enough with my time. If anything, it made me want to get back to the track a bit more. In my injury-prone state, I haven’t been doing much speed work. Also, our team met Colleen Quigley!

 

Fall by the numbers:

Longest long run: 11 miles

Fastest speed: I hit 10 mph (a 6:00 minute mile) for maybe a minute during a Barry’s Bootcamp treadmill session and didn’t die or fly off the treadmill

I ran my first race since February, a 5K on Randall’s Island in 26:26, about 90 seconds off my PR.

I ran in Saratoga Springs NY, Chicago IL, and San Juan Puerto Rico.

Plus, I went to a driving range for the first time in over a decade, got into sourdough bread baking, am a happy owner of a Theragun, and kept up eating delicious stuff all over town (and other places).

Lunch specials at Cho Dang Gol
Piña colada and red snapper in Old San Juan
Deep dish pizza and the best salad at Lou Malnati’s in Chicago
Apple cider donuts upstate
Waiting for seafood boil

Pre-Richmond Half Training Weeks

With the approval of my physiatrist and physical therapist, I’m hoping to race the Richmond Half November 16th. I still need to see my sports medicine doctor again and plan to keep going to PT, but am feeling hopeful overall. This will be my first fall in a few years without training for a full marathon. It’ll be nice to have some of the time back (no 3 hour long runs) but still get in some time running with friends.

I only ran once on my trip to Austin, but boy did I eat well. I also finally checked out Barton Springs; the cold water is amazing for recovery on a hot day.

 

img_8430.jpg
Lambert’s BBQ
img_8436
Elvis Pancakes at Kerbey Lane

Once back in NYC, I got to do a longish run during SummerStreets, which got me up to 7 miles with quite a few stops for water, Nuun, and free snacks. I kept bumping into people, which was delightful. I got to run and catch up with several PPTC folks. One such catch-up made the PPTC instagram, thanks to Elle. I wore my cool new Tracksmith singlet since I haven’t gotten to wear it for a race yet. A little concerned that it won’t be singlet weather once I can actually race, but hopefully I can layer it over a long-sleeve.

Screen Shot 2019-08-31 at 10.14.47 PM.png

I managed to get in some cross training, though very much need to keep up with strength and do more regular yoga. I went back to my first barre class in a year or two and had a blast, despite all the push-ups.

 

img_8481.jpg
Skewers, soup dumplings, and pad see eww at HK Food Court

 

img_8571
Views from Brooklyn Promenade
img_8591.jpg
Big spread at ilili

And that brings us up to Week 1 (8/26) of a 12-week training plan for the Richmond Half. More to come!

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.

img_8171
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
img_8298.jpg
1/4 the menu at Clinton Hall
img_8299
Seafood Paella at Bazar

That’s it for now!

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

img_7815.jpgimg_7886.jpg

More to come once my running increases!

An Abrupt Injury Pivot

So my training went off the rails the first couple weeks of April due to pain in my left foot. I had some mild plantar fasciitis that I’d been running through, but then all of a sudden I had a painful raised area on the outside of my midfoot. It really got inflamed and swelled up the weekend of the 6th and 7th and I didn’t do a true long run that weekend. A blister formed on top of the swollen area then popped, but the pain came and went. I took 5 days off and largely felt better, so I went out for a long run on the 13th, hoping to hobble together some kind of plan with lots of elliptical and spin and just longs to help me get to and through the Brooklyn Half. It felt fine during the run, but the pain returned after and the blister wound never fully healed.

I just saw a physiatrist and the good news is that it’s not a stress fracture. It was probably a cyst or plantar fibroma (we did an ultrasound and there was some fluid still in there) on top of the plantar fasciitis. We’re doing some work to fix all of that and let it recover.

What’s next? I deferred my entry to the Broad Street Run and will also be pulling out of the Brooklyn Half. I’m starting a 10-week strength training class next week and will keep in consult with my doctor for cross-training and eventual return to running once the pain goes away and healing seems likely.

img_7565.jpg
Orecchiette at Fausto

I’ve been paying more attention to my food and nutrition during this time of decreased activity. Still enjoying some good meals and cooking a lot (especially in my Instant Pot) but have not been taking as many photos. To be fair, lentil chili and short rib ragu do not photograph very well but they taste great. Next up is a strawberry tres leches cake.