ugh NYC and this weather

WTF? I am back in NYC and I was dragging and dreading it. I told Juan a few times to pack a bag and come to Argentina. Last winter, though fun and with great company, sucked the fun out of 6 months! I am dreading this winter so much already (even though I prepped with all the gear I could think of), all I do is think where I can move. I am not moving yet, or maybe for a few years, but I am not sure I want to stay in NYC forever. It really bothers me that I can’t run in shorts all year long, or that I just can’t enjoy being outside. NYC was so so cold last winter… I know some of you had it worst, even in Philly it was worse (forget Canada!), but after 14 years in the northeast (4 in Philly, 10 in NYC) I think I am close to my “done” level. The thing is… where do you go after living in NYC? Where?? nothing else seems as good or as exciting. It’s like the times you have between April and September and worth the other sucky 6 months. I thought about maybe SanFran or the Caribbean somewhere, but everything else seems so boring compared to NYC. I love Philly still, but the weather is worse there; SanFran has its prons and Cons. San Diego is cool but I just won’t drive. Bermuda and the Caribbean seem ideal but I am not sure I can live in the “small town”. Add to that that NYC has gotten “loud”, and “smelly” and “too crowded”, you know I am a bit sick of it… but what can I possibly do about it?

I knew I should have waited until February to enjoy the Argentinian summer… and use it as a “keep me going” instead of coming back to a loooong winter ahead! Anyone has any ideas? Am I the only one already dreading this winter?

5K in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires: Circuito de las Estaciones – Verano

As most of you know, I am from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I like to spend a few of my December weeks here every year to catch up on family time, good food, heat, sun, and some mileage.
I spent the first days of my trip in Mar del Plata, a seaside town 250 miles from downtown Buenos Aires, great for running and churros. Trust me, either one of those two are worth the trip. Look:

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Fun to run around, right?

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YUM YUM YUMMMMMIE
So after a whole week of eating like a pig, you can imagine how I felt by the weekend. Fat and greasy. Oh well, that’s what vacations are for (and the rest of MY year too).
I had signed up for this 5K a week before and, on a whim, my mom decided to sign up too. My dad has been walking and jogging for about four years now but my mom just started walking this year. They had both done a 3K walk the week before so she felt that was good enough training for a 5k. Of course I agreed. Insert evil grin right here.
We picked up our packets on Friday which included our bib numbers and a really nice T-shirt. And a Spanish running magazine called O2.

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And we started carboloading right away!!!!

On race morning they had predicted rain and it was a little gloomy but it was mostly hot and very humid and about 75°.
We had a few minutes to walk around, soak the race atmosphere in, and settle at the start.

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There were no corrals so I placed myself about six deep and my mom was about a minute behind. She had found a few of her friends that she walks with and they were all having the time of their lives.
Soon enough at 8:30 am we get moving, the gun goes off, there’s a little bit of congestion at the start line with everybody starting their watches, but about five seconds later it was quite open. I noticed a lot of people sprinted and about 200 m later they were all going backwards.
I didn’t see too many women around but half of us were doing the 5K and many others were doing the 10k, so you could never really know who you were competing against until the turnaround. The 5K course was shaped like a candy cane with us starting at the shorter end. As soon as we got to the first turn, I noticed I was about 100 m behind the leaders which was surprising; I would have expected to be a lot further back.
I saw a few women ahead but decided it was too early to worry and chase anyone. Also, my GPS had no idea in what continent it was and I didn’t turn it on early enough to grab signal on time. I had no idea what pace I was doing but I knew my heart rate would keep me honest. Hello Photographer!

IMG_6323.JPGSoon enough I saw my dad taking pictures.

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I was working hard and feeling really thirsty. Soon enough we were at the turnaround point and I focused on counting the women ahead making the turn ahead of me for the 5K return. I counted eight, and they were all quite very young. I made the turn and soon enough I caught up one of them, got on her side and told her to go together, she said something that I couldn’t understand and fell back really fast. So I kept going and soon enough I had caught up and passed another one. I saw my dad again taking pictures and told him I would be right back (when I finished!).

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Then I just knew I had about a mile to go and I noticed there was a girl running with a very tall man about 100 meters ahead of me. Or 150 meters. That seemed like a really far way to go to catch someone. Quite impossible.
On the other hand, what else was I supposed to be doing there for the next four minutes? Of course I feared that a soon as I took out my fifth gear, and caught her, I will die there and she would pass me again. Or that I would not even catch her and suffer even more to the finish. But the will to overtake her overtook me and I, slowly but surely, started to claw in her space. The tall man that was running with her kept looking backwards at me and pushing her to the point where he was running for or five steps ahead of her, urging her to speed up. She was not pressing forward though and I passed her sooner than I had calculated: she just stayed there, even though her tall pacer got really frustrated. I bet my pennies that he pushed her too fast out of the gates, and that’s why she was paying for it. It is my experience that it is very hard to pass a woman in the later stages (even though I always negative split) as we (women) are better gauging our speed than men: and I tend to pass a lot of man in the last miles.
I had no idea what pace I was going at so seeing a 21:40 at the finish was quite a shock. I had done a 5K and a four miler two weeks before and I thought I was going to be around 22 minutes flat. I had been eating like a pig all week and the weather was quite humid and gross. But, Buenos Aires is as flat as pancake..!
Pace was 6:58 per mile (or a ridiculous 4:20 in kilometers: so freaking fast sounding). I was the sixth woman, thirtieth overall and FIRST in my category. Not a PR, but happy to keep getting closer!!!

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I grabbed a Gatorade, chugged it urgently, and grabbed another one instantly. I was so thirsty. I rolled back to where my dad was to see in which direction my mom was going so I could catch up with her.
As soon as I saw my dad

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IMG_6190.JPG and he took those pictures I felt these horrible cramps on my left calf. I could barely stand up and grabbed it in pain. Crap it hurt!! Wtf is that? I have never had any cramps in my life. I shook it and run back in the race to find my mom.

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She was running behind a group of about 30 Santa Clauses and on her last mile. She looked great and way ahead of the 50 minutes we had estimated. She was walking and jogging at her will but I made her focus on passing the Santa Clauses because “you need a decent finish line photo of your first race!”.

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We went full steam ahead, my dad was right by the finish and I took off

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I think I nailed it.
She finished in 40 minutes which is a lot faster than we thought she would do.
She was happy, grabbed a water, and we took a picture with my friends Laura and Damian.

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Two minutes later it was pouring so we rushed back to the car, and definitely back to the carboloading, for no reason in particular!

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That is Fidel Felipe Esperrino, my sister’s pup who, I hope, will be doing the 5k next year (there’s a 5k for doggies) just like the rest of the family!
The calf cramp turned my calf into a painful contracted knot for two full days and then it went away as fast and mysteriously as it popped up. So weird and awful. Anyway, back to the carbo/protein-loading again.

4 Miler and Turkey Trot Finish Time Giveaway Winners!

And the two winners of the “Guess my Finish at the 4 Miler this weekend and the Turkey Trot 5K!” given my 22:10 in the 5K and my 29:37 in the 4 miler are…

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Congrats!! Please email me your name, postal address and your prize choice from the list (in the post above) and I’ll ship it when I return to the US in two weeks. Whoever emails first, gets first choice of prize!

Patanella’s Green Brook Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. A double first!!!

OMG. This 5K was such a blast and one of the funnest things I have done in a while.
Given I had run the marathon 3 1/2 weeks ago and a 4 mile race in Central Park this Sunday I wasn’t expecting much other than to burn a few calories pre-turkey.
On Wednesday we got to my aunt’s house in New Jersey at around 2 PM and it had been snowing all day. There was ice and a lot of slush all over the streets and I was a little bit worried about the streets’ condition for Thursday morning. At around 6 PM we went to the Green Brook middle school to pick up our bin pack which had our number and a timing bracelet, plus a shirt and a plastic water bottle. It was so exciting to have a race that was three blocks away! There was no baggage but the race organizer said we could leave our coats in the gymnasium where everything was being hosted and it would be fine!
We went back to my aunt’s, had a ton of milanesas and many other deliciousnesses and probably gained 7 pounds by Wed night. Always worth it. Tots.
Thursday morning we got up at seven, by 7:50 we left, and at 7:57 we were at the start, which was a line on the floor. Loved it.
We hear GO and everybody around us sprints for their lives, including Juan. I was like “WTF!” and tried to sit on my pace. I had done a four miler four days ago so I assumed I would be around 7:20 pace. For a 5K it’s almost impossible (and stupid) to start slow because of your 7 seconds of ATP you gotta use up, so you have a fast first mile then less fast 1.5 miles, and then you go superhard sprint crazy mode for the last half mile. I went out at 7:01. Felt it was too fast. AS USUAL. Always think I start to fast, get scared, but then it was fine. After. Right then I questioned myself as usual. We went by my cousin’s house and she was there waiting with my second cousin and then we went by my aunt’s and she was there also screaming. It was really fun.
I saw a couple of women around me but none of them looked like they were my age. They all looked really young. I started pacing with a couple of people but it was really strung out by mile 2. My mile two was on the slow side at 7:21, perfect. Not going to lie, I was suffering a lot by then. But, 5ks are short so soon enough we were doing this little turnaround where I saw a few of the people ahead of me not more than 50 and Mile 3 clocked at 7:08. I see the finish is less than 200 m away, I sprint for my life, and the last bit was run at 6:17 pace. Woooot. Official finish time was 22:10. Not a PR by a minute but I am getting back up there sloooowly!!!
And then the party began. I found Juan, we headed inside the gym, and there was a feast of bagels, brownies, candy and whatever else you can think off!!!
Then we had this big party in the gymnasium where they held a hula-hoop competition, then they did a sit up competition, and push-ups competition!! Everyone was participating. Then they did the awards and Juan and I both were first in our age groups. I also checked the results and it turned out I was eight of all the women and all seven of the women before me where 15 to 22 years old. Wow. Very exciting. They gave us these trophies that are bobble heads and we are completely obsessed with them. So freaking cute! I was overall very happy I participated, the weather turned out to be perfect, the streets were in perfect condition after the snow the day before, the race was low-key and very were organized, and the prerace party was ridiculously perfect. I love these smaller races so much, I would move out of New York just for these (though not just yet!). Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Over-preparing for the winter

I am getting ready for Wintergeddon! The cold last winter just zapped all running fun out of me, so this time I am going in READY. A few weeks ago I started buying all the super-technical cold weather gear you can think of. When you’ve been running for over 10 years, you amass an insane amount of running crap that is almost impossible to control, or remember, or even store (in a NY apartment). I must have about 40 long sleeves I like but  I always wear the two or three on the top of the piles. Sometimes I turn the pile upside down, just so the other stuff doesn’t feel forgotten. But you forget. And then, with so much stuff, you don’t buy anything new and/or anything specific. Add to that my always present need to wear as little possible, and you can see why I am always cold. Also, for some reason, my body doesn’t respond well to cold. When it’s 110, I am ok, I can run, I might even PR, REALLY. When it’s under 30, not only my body freezes but my brain does too. I become a freaking solid emotionless robot that has only one goal: to go indoors and never go out again. The cold didn’t use to bother me this much, but it’s getting old. It’s just depressing me and it’s only November. I am not sure how many more winters I have in NYC at this point. Juan, sorry you just got here, we gotta go!

Anyway, so this year I wound’t have ANY EXCUSES, I set off to get subzero stuff.

I started with the sugoi subzero tights.  They have midzero tights (for when it’s 30) and subzero. I got those. They’re like a wetsuit (though not as tight as compression tights, I can’t handle all that mess putting them on, also they break my nails!!) so no air in! I wore them last week when it was 13 degrees and omg, my legs were hot!! I also went to under armour and got their new cold gear, INFRARED!! hahaha, hot name! Juan had a few of those shirts (ehem, base layers!) and I had tried them on last winter, they are great. I got a super cute base layer and wore it last year. I was TOO HOT. Perfect. I also got their infrared hot but it failed to cover my ears… it’s cute though so I’ll wear it with a fleece headband under it.

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This weekend we went to icebreaker and got those merino wool shirts. The concept is strange, they don’t smell and they’re super warm. They don’t smell? I smell on ANYTHING! We shall see!

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One more thing I am trying, this adidas heart rate monitor that goes into the bra. I’ve been using a garmin HRM for 6 years, and I always wear it without the chest strap. I just slide into the bra. I do chafe a lot though. We’ll see if this is the answer to all my prayers screaming. Can’t wait to try it!

2014-11-06 15.30.04will report back if these things made it impossible for me to have a good excuse in the next few freezing days out. For now, I am escaping to the hot weather as a defense mechanism!

Mile High Run Club Giveaway: our TEN winners!

And the three winners of the Mile High Run Club giveaway, as selected by the random thing where I just push a magic button, are…

tarararararraraaaaaaaaaaa…

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Congrats!! Please email me ASAP and I’ll give you a code to sign up for a class. HURRY, codes expire on 12/31!

—-Comment happily: you won’t be asked to create an account!

Tiny Race Report: NYRR’s Race To Deliver 4 miler

Sunday’s race was easy-peasy. When does a race feel like that? I have been running very little and quite slow since the marathon so I think I was ready to bust out a bit. I’ve been doing about 15 to 20 miles for the last 2-3 weeks since the marathon. The 4 mile course in Central Park is usually quite hilly but I’ve done it SOOO many times, I just don’t get scared anymore and go on autopilot for those races.

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His and Hers!

Sunday morning was 40 degrees!!! yey. We had a few days of 20s and 30s that week so 40 was quite exciting, and pretty much, the perfect running situation. We run to the start from home (Juan was running too) with an extra layer, but I still always dread waiting in the corral for 15 minutes freezing. But it wouldn’t be so. I was actually quite comfortable in singlet and short tights. Go figure. On the other hand 80% of the people were wearing jackets, long tights and what not. TELL ME WHY!

The ambiance was fantastic. I was in the back of the blue corral (I always go as far back as possible) and everyone was having a good time.When people are cold and about to start a race, it’s quite easy to be friendly, we’re all chatty and ready to hug everyone! Until the national anthem of course. That’s when, if there’s still someone chatting we all give them nasty looks until they stops. We’re a funny bunch runners. I love it.

I had done the 5 miler the week before the marathon in 7:28 pace so I assumed I’d be around 7:20 average pace, which means opening with a slow 7:40 mile.

We took off. Mile 1 is the worst. It’s crowded and there’s Cat Hill. I promised to go slow. Ha, I DID. Mile 1 was 7:49! I obviously couldn’t do any math but assumed this was awfully slow. Mile 2 is the only flattish area for you to get some speed going before the mess in the last two miles to I set on a rhythm and tried to pick it up a bit: 7:13. okay, not all hope is lost, which is something I think waaay too often in races! Mile 2: 7:13. Okay! By then, a friend of mine, who I knew was running passes by, actually, it was more like at 1.5 miles. She did fantastic on the marathon (like 10 mins faster than me) so I was sure I had to make sure and stay behind her. I knew that if I passed her, it’s because I was going too fast. But, Martina, oh god, was not running tangents (TELL ME WHY) so we traded the lead for a bit, for about a mile when I think she faded a bit (Mile 3, slooow 7:32) because I didn’t see her again. It’s amazing how I can really focus on the pacing on these short races. Once I got to half mile to go, I just went for it, usually right after the reservoir, I count all the turns, focus on the tangents and put my hit on someone about 5 meters ahead of me. Mile 4 was 6:59. 

See I barely bother anymore to even look at my stats on a  screen? Ugh.  PS: you are not dizzy, it IS fuzzy.

See I barely bother anymore to even look at my stats on a screen? Ugh.
PS: you are not dizzy, it IS fuzzy.

It was good to feel I could get faster towards the end but I didn’t have any of the pep in my legs I had the week before the marathon. I guess I still have some marathon on my legs 3 weeks later. I still managed to do better (given my AG was 66.72% on Sunday and it was 66.70% 4 weeks ago, okay, pretty much exactly the same!!)

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Stats Time:

Finish time: 29:37 Average Pace: 7:25

Previous PR: 28:00. From: April, 2013

Age Grading: 66.72%

Overall Place: 579 of 5302

Gender Place: 102 of 3015

Age Place: 15 of 905

Official NYRR Race to deliver results and pictures

As soon as I finished, I saw John up ahead. John is 72, he placed 3rd in his AG and we seem to be doing the same finish times, which I love!!! Martina came by a bit after and we grabbed some water and went to find Juan by bagagge so we could layer up and run a bit more sloooowly. I already run today (hey, it’s 62 degrees!!) and felt fantastic! Not sure I left it all out there yesterday but I’ll be glad if there’s anything left in my legs for Thursday’s Turkey Trot!!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FRIENDS!