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.

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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

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.

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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.

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Flying downhill

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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.

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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.

 

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Lambert’s BBQ
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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.

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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.

 

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

 

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Views from Brooklyn Promenade
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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.

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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!