Turkey Trot Training October Edition

In September, I started an 8-week training plan with Stryd that I’ve loosely followed for the Prospect Park Track Club Virtual Turkey Trot. Loosely being the key word. The Turkey Trot is virtual this year, so we have from Thursday-Sunday of Thanksgiving week to race it. I’m planning to pick my race day based on weather conditions and crank it out solo on a nearby flat loop.

After a couple months of slow base building starting from near-0 mileage in July, I finally started upping my consistency to 4 days a week of running and at least one other cardio/strength workout weekly. I wasn’t too worried about speed or distance, but have slowly built both up along with more activity. I hit 27 miles/5 hours of running the week ending November 1 (halfway through the training plan), which is my highest volume since April. (Then I haven’t run as consistently since in November, but that’s another story).

November 1 would have been the date of the 50th New York City Marathon, so I decided to run a bit of the course for fun in my 70 minute planned long run. Of course the rain began by mile 1, so I put on my Asics Stormchaser jacket and popped the hood (should have brought a hat to keep the rain off my glasses). I’m pretty happy with my splits, all things considered, though the faster times were due to going downhill. The last mile was an absolute slog. I overshot my turnaround point and went up to 90th St then back down to Columbus Circle. My form was falling apart (once I accidentally kick my own ankles, I know it’s getting bad). However there were supporters with cowbells cheering us on and some folks present for their virtual marathoners near the finish line. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal, it was nice to see so many supporters and see so many other runners.

In October, I had a few (mostly outdoor) adventures other than running. I made it to:

– New York Botanical Garden

– Bartlett Arboretum

– Pennings Orchard

– hiked some the Palisades and the George Washington Bridge

– shot engagement photos in Liberty State Park/Jersey City waterfront

– Norwalk Maritime Aquarium

That’s really it! A shocking lack of food photos this month but the lighting in our apartment is not great and I haven’t been dining out as much.

Virtual Relay Week Rundown

So back in August I signed up for the Womxn Run the Vote virtual relay from Oiselle to benefit Black Voters Matter. I joined a team with my PPTC teammates, many of whom are scattered around the US. We’re virtually covering the ground from the MLK Jr National Historic Site in Atlanta (which I ran by 3/1/20 during the Atlanta Half) to Washington DC, split up among a team of 20. This should be about 34 miles per person, which I haven’t hit since late March. I did a build up into the low-medium mileage territory in August and early September (with a few days focused on hiking in Acadia early September). We’re allowed to log other activities into the relay, including walks, bike rides, and time spent playing sports. Let’s see how it went down (I think I stole this line verbatim from Chelsea).

Monday: I wanted to kick things off right, so I got in 5.1 miles at a mostly easy pace. Plus walking to a coffee shop that was closed for the day (sigh).

Tuesday: Recovery run pace of 4.4 miles since my legs were already pretty zonked. Lots of TheraGun time and stretching.

Wednesday: 1 of the elevators in our building is down and the wait for the other ones is just too much during busy times so I took the stairs up twice. I also did a 45 minute RowHouse Signature class, which was about 35 minutes on the erg and 10 minutes doing circuits of bodyweight and small hand weight exercises. I’m hoping to upgrade from the 3 pound weights to the 5 pound weights for more of these soon.

Thursday: I had planned to run but my legs were still tired so took the day off. More Theragun and stretching.

Friday: 3 miles easy in the AM, then extra humid walking around later.

Saturday: Surprise lazy day (had planned for a quick morning run). Went to a winery for some live music and outdoor drinking.

White Silo Farm and Winery, aptly named
Wine flights and boxed lunches

Sunday: 4 mile Citibike ride, then 6 mile running loop of Central Park with Gabby. So humid! Lots of walking around prior and after. We got Zucker’s Bagels on the UWS and listened to live jazz outside.

For the relay, we did pretty darn well as a team! I made exactly the recommended contribution but some people went above and beyond.

What’s next? I finally signed up for a virtual race; my club’s usual 5 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. I have my route planned out and am hoping to get it done nice and early. I would like to try to take down my 5K or 10K PRs this year since they are from August 2017 and April 2018, respectively. I might wear both watches and stop one at the 5 mile mark for the Turkey Trot then continue for another 1.2 miles to get a 10K attempt if things are going well. NYCRuns is having actual races on Randall’s Island and I’m kind of tempted by the Halloween Haunted Island 5K, but logistically it might make more sense to cobble together something virtual.

August 2020 Eats & Workouts

This has been a month of increased fitness activity overall and a slow return to running after a couple months mostly off. After a late July move, I’ve had access to a few forms of fitness I was lacking: tennis courts, an erg, and a spin bike. I joined Peloton (but do not have one of their bikes) and have loved having it for rides and am starting to explore their strength and HIIT content.

Up to now, I’ve only raced 1 virtual race this year, back in late May, and ran it with a mask on and 2 minutes slower than my 5K PR. I’m hoping to tackle some old PRs this fall  either on the track or on a flattish course. I’m thinking 5K and 10K as my softest and some of my oldest PRs (August 2017 for 5K on a hilly course and April 2018 for 10K on a good course but a warm day). I’m also tempted to finally try a trail race; it’s virtual but the course is technically available to run at your own time. I bought some Nike Wildhorse 6’s on a friend’s recommendation and am excited to try them out. Hopefully some virtual race reports to come!

I really miss ClassPass and all of the boutique fitness studios I used to frequent in NYC that have been closed since March. I sort of bopped around to a bunch of them and never took the same classes (or even instructors) enough to fully get into the community vibe that a lot of regulars seem to get, but I still liked the energy. For a couple of years now, I had drafted a post with a list of all my favorite spin, barre, strength, etc studios that I had visited. I really hope they’re all eventually open to reopen safely.

After taking off the hottest months from intense baking and cooking, I’m also back at that as well! A few recent experiments below.

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I made pork and kale dumplings and am trying to really nail down my folding technique

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I made a nectarine and blueberry galette (my rustic dough and folding technique sprung some leaks)

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New York Botanical Garden is open with timed tickets and so peaceful

May, June, and July Eats and Outdoors

My running volume fell off a cliff due to increases in both workload and heat/humidity and I subsequently decided not to do a June virtual race 5K since I would be off from PR pace. I mostly have been running and walking to Central Park and Morningside Park and have gotten into identifying flowers and other plants with the Seek by iNaturalist app (and also asking my horticulturist friend).

Baking hasn’t happened in the hotter weather but I am pleased with the bread and sweets I made prior to real summer.

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No Knead Loaf with Charred Scallion Butter

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Murray’s Cheese Birthday Gift from Friends – prosciutto, burrata, and olives

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Highbridge Park; the pedestrian/bike only bridge goes from Manhattan to the Bronx

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Rosé outside at Wolffer Estate Vineyard (Hamptons day trip to see Gabby outside)

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Hydrangeas are my fave after tulip/rose/peony season

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Not the Yayoi Kusama infinity room we were supposed to attend, but it’ll do

April Running – The Month That Wasn’t

So after running my highest mileage ever in March (such consistency), my running totally fell off the rails in April. (Remote) work ramped up, the weather sucked, and my desire to get out of the apartment with a facial covering on and avoid people was not there. It gave me some time to think about why I just like the act of running and not necessarily the ‘training’ for a race or trying to hit a PR. In all likelihood, I might try to train for a virtual race PR in June for the 5K (or the mile), but it also felt good to have less pressure on myself to follow a strict training plan when I was also working longer hours than usual (though without a commute) and dogsitting over the weekends. Things have let up a bit in May, that’s for sure, so I’m getting back outside and running a tick more mileage. Some weeks are only 2-3 runs and others are 5, but none are very long anymore.

I have spent so much of my mental energy and brief time outside on the acquisition of food, then cooking and baking said food at home. I’ve kept up with my Meal Planning spreadsheet and added a tab to better capture what we actually have in the pantry, freezer, and fridge (also using the Out of Milk app for grocery list and knowing how much we have of certain ingredients).

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I also did a thorough listing and categorization of all my cookbooks since most are hardcover but some are on my Kindle and were sort of out of sight, out of mind. This is absolutely my idea of fun.

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Like everyone else, I’ve been feeding my sourdough starter and re-growing my scallions. We’ve been taking on somewhat more complicated cooking projects because we now have time on weekdays and weeknights for things like double-frying Korean Fried Chicken, brining pork chops, marinating skirt steaks, and letting cookie dough chill in the fridge. Do I miss paying $14 for a grain bowl at Naya and eating at my desk in midtown? Sometimes. Mainly I miss the coworker camaraderie that came with it. We’ve been getting takeout of local places to help support them and avoid Seamless and their fees (and always tipping a lot).

Food photo overdrive below. Starting to wish I had a better camera, lighting, and dishes for this kind of thing.

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Fruity Pebbles pudding cookies

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9″x9″ tray of Banana pudding that I ate almost entirely myself over 3 days

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Korean fried chicken in soy ginger garlic sauce

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Bon Appetit’s shrimp scampi over linguine and broccolini

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Sourdough discard pizza crust with sausage and fresh mozzerella from Faicco’s Pork Store

Weeks 1-4 of Brooklyn Half 2020(?) Training

All of this training now comes with the caveat that we don’t know yet if the 2020 Brooklyn half is still happening on 5/16 and are in fact assuming it’s not. I chose a 12-week plan and the first week happened to be race week for the Atlanta Half on 3/1. Some of this was written in the first three weeks, then I added some context later on in March once we knew more about cancellations and such.

2/24-3/1: 26.6 miles, including the Atlanta Half. I did a shakeout run with friends the day before (Olympic Marathon Trials spectating day) and we met Kara Goucher! Then after the trials, we met Meb at an Ali on the Run podcast recording.

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Gabby, Kara Goucher, Me, and Kate

Spectating crew at miles 1, 9, and 17

After the half on Sunday, Gabby and I went to the Atlanta Aquarium and really enjoyed it. They have whale sharks and a bunch of other animals.

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Pastrami, pulled pork, sides, and pimiento cheese dip at DBA Barbeque in Atlanta

3/2-3/8: 26.5 miles. Recovery needs were high and I was sore. I should have squeezed in a recovery run Monday while still in Atlanta, that’s for sure. When walking back from breakfast (at Atlanta Breakfast Club), we saw Molly Seidel on her own recovery run. I did mile pushes as part of speed training that Tuesday (too soon!), then took the rest of my miles easy. I did a Lululemon store group run and an International Women’s Day run. (Writing this now on 3/28; remember group runs?)

3/9-3/15: 31.1 miles, mostly solo, and mostly close to home in Central Park. I had my last day in the office 3/9, last group training workout Tuesday 3/10, then social distancing began in earnest.

3/16-3/22: The inevitable dip in morale once all March and April and early May races were cancelled. NYRR Spring Group Training was canceled before it even begun. I managed to try some form of half-hearted speed workout on Monday 3/16, but might tend toward more easy miles and an occasional tempo, assuming I am still let out of the house. I managed to get in 32.6 miles, including a 10 mile long run up the west side. I’m wary of crowds and Central Park was overflowing with people on the warm Friday, so will try some less frequented routes (again, as long as still allowed. Runners currently have Governor Cuomo’s blessing).

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Platelet and plasma donation with Gigi

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The Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge, an NYC long run destination

3/23-3/29: 20 miles over 4 runs. Skipped the long run but did some fartlek speed work on a shorter run. Did my first online yoga class and in-apartment bodyweight workout. The weekend was rainy and we were dogsitting and honestly it was nice to not force a run. If I can still run the weekend of 4/4-4/5, then I’ll do Cherry Blossom as a virtual race. If not, then I can be pleased that my March mileage was my highest since marathon training in September 2018. (Ed. note – it will actually be a little higher than 130 miles once I run today, 3/31, and will be my highest mileage month ever. EVER.)

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Soondubu and toasted garlic Spam

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I made the chocolate cake and chocolate buttercream from Sally’s Baking Addiction and it was amazing. Freezes well, too!

How’s everyone doing out there? Stay well.

 

Atlanta Half 2020 Recap

Before coronavirus took hold of the US (more on that to come later, as a public health professional or maybe just as an extrovert runner in NYC), I met up with friends in Atlanta to see the Olympic Marathon Trials on Saturday 2/29. Then some of us toed the line at a hilly Publix Atlanta Half half on 3/1. I knew the course profile was a far cry from my very flat-coursed  half PR (1:57:04) but this was my first half marathon in 13 months (since a fun, easy time at Rock and Roll New Orleans 2019) and the first one I was actually trying to kind of race since Bay Ridge 2018.

The week of, I kept vacillating in my mind between 1) taking the whole thing easy, 2) racing my heart out for a PR attempt at a 8:55 pace or better, or 3) playing it by ear. Reasons I thought I could crush this: I was fairly well tapered. I had put in 8 weeks of NYRR Group Training on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Main reason I thought I would falter: After weeks of solid double digit long runs in January and early February, things petered out and ended with me barely squeezing out a two-hour, 11-mile long run 10 days before race day. I also took a Tuesday speed session easy that week, but still possibly had pushed too hard. Maybe I wasn’t well tapered.

The night before, I went out with friends and dinner took a bit longer than I would have liked, so I got to bed later than my planned 10pm. I woke up at 5:45am, had a canned Starbucks iced coffee drink and a Clif Bar, then got dressed. I hadn’t brought throwaway clothes but decided on crops and a long-sleeve with gloves since it was around 40F and some wind (but way less windy than the previous day). Gabby and I met up with Elle and sped-walked to the start and stood in line for bag check. I should have used a port-a-potty but the lines were long and we wanted to get into the B Corral.

Note: I forgot my Garmin so my Apple Watch splits are quite a bit off; obviously I didn’t run perfect tangents but it still said I ran 13.5 miles, so mile estimates are generous. Actual pace from the tracker for 5K and 10K was 9:47, then overall pace was 9:33.

ATLHalf

As evident, I did not PR. I took the first mile at “what feels like easy/doable” which was closer to 9:30/mile than 9:00 mile. I was initially a bit bummed that that’s where things are for me (um, but would be delighted if that was even my long run or marathon pace), but Elle was with me and I felt like I could get through this and maybe even enjoy it. I decided to try to run by feel and also negative split if I could. The total elevation gain doesn’t show it well, but the grade adjusted paces do. Every single mile had some sort of hill. Some were short and sweet while others were a bit more sustained.

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Early on, I saw my friend Janna and her amazing posters. She then surprised me by cutting through across and showing up again and caught me.

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As far as landmarks, there were quite a few, ranging from the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library to Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and his church, plus fun neighborhoods like Five Points and Virginia-Highland.

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At Mile 9, I felt strong(ish) and picked up the pace just a bit and separated from Elle, who encouraged me to go on. The last few miles were pretty torturous as we ran back into downtown after going through Piedmont Park. The hills kept coming and my lack of endurance started to show around mile 11/12 as my legs started to fail me at the current pace and my heart race increased. I had made it a point to only check my watch every couple miles and not obsess about the pace like I usually would.

Finally, we had the uphill finish back into Centennial Olympic Park. I grabbed chocolate milk, a banana, and what I could before grabbing my jacket and phone from bag check and shuffling back to the hotel. I managed to trip over the sidewalk 3 times on the ten-minute walk, so I was in somewhat rough shape.

Overall, I wasn’t overly pleased with my time of 2:05:09 but I was happy with my performance overall. I feel like the negative split showed grit since the course didn’t flatten out much in the later miles. I think my current fitness that week could have gotten a sub-2 (but not a PR) on a flat course, which is cool since I’ve only done that twice. This performance bodes well for Brooklyn Half as long as I don’t let my long runs slip. I also got a few actually flattering race photos for the first time in a long time because when you take it easier, you can try to actually smile for the cameras. Plus the trip itself was amazing and something I’ll hold dear for a long time.

 

February Training

I’m looking at February as a big month of base building. Just over 100 miles for the month and a push toward medium volume (for me).

2/3-2/9: 30 miles of training, finally. By only half a mile, this is my highest mileage since when I ran the NYC Marathon in November 2018. I did a trail run at South Mountain Reservation in New Jersey with a group, which was fun. It’s pretty easy to get to and just challenging enough for someone like me who loves running on trails but doesn’t yet have trail shoes with a rock plate.

South Mountain PPTC Group

Muddy from South Mountain

2/10-2/16: 12.5 miles since I moved my long run to the following Monday, President’s Day while also missing my Thursday tempo and Saturday 5-mile Open Run.

Funfetti cupcakes for Galentine’s Day

2/17-2/23: 34 miles, including the final long run. Amazing eats at Golden Unicorn, Smith & Wollensky, and The Dough Club.

Dim sum at Golden Unicorn

2/24-2/28: x miles plus a short shakeout 2/29 before spectating the Olympic marathon trials

Next up in March: Atlanta Half 3/1, cheering the NYC Half and the UAE 10K, eating my way around Montreal, and some more trail running.

Winter Training Miscellany

I’ve been more consistent getting out there a few times a week and my long runs were going well enough in the low double digits. The lack of Polar Vortex weather has helped me get outside, plus I have treadmill access at New York Sports Club which has a ton of locations. I’m doing speed training Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is also helping.

Weekly Mileage:

January 13-19: 29 miles. This is my highest weekly mileage since April, right before my plantar fibroma ended my spring/summer season.

January 20 – 26: 21.5 miles out of a proposed 31 because I moved my long run then didn’t get it done.

January 27 – February 2: 28.6 miles, including a 4 mile race. I wanted to extend my warm up and cool down to hit 30 for the week, but was pretty beat after.

NYRR Open Run

Winter/Spring race calendar so far:

February 2: NYRR Gridiron 4 Miler

February 16: 10 miles as a tuneup race

March 1: Atlanta Half

April 5: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC. I’m in but need to secure accommodations and travel.

Early May: Ragnar Cape Cod May 8-9. I’m also in for Broad Street Run in Philly May 3rd since I had to defer in 2019 (and 2018, sigh). I don’t think I should race and relay three weeks in a row.

May 16: Brooklyn Half, after much agita getting in.

I’m trying to pick an actual 5K or 10K to hopefully PR, but might put those off until summer.

Eats: I’ve still been eating and cooking tasty things, but not taking a lot of pictures of them.

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

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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.

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Zion National Park