Tag Archive | training

Summer Streets. Rain. 14 Miles. YEAH.




Hey friends! Someone is in a GREAT running mood… I was dreading last week though.

I was starting my long runs, I was slated for 14 on Saturday and you well I can’t run long by myself… the week before I had run 12 with team mates but this past Saturday EVERYONE I knew (EVERYONE!!) was doing the Team Championships so I had no one to run with. So sad-Elizabeth face all over the place. What am I gonna do?? I can’t do 14 by myself!!! I moaned around for days.

I even thought of running the 5 mile race, adding a few before. But, after the tempo we did last Tuesday I knew I wasn’t mentally ready to race and that also I didn’t want to miss Summer Streets!!! Summer Streets!!! In case you don’t know, we get a whole street blocked for us, just 3 Saturdays a year, Park Avenue in the Upper East Side all the way downtown, 7 to noon. I can’t miss it. Look at the wonderful pictures I took last year. It’s just the THE BEST.

Anyway, Jessica, told me she and her friend were doing also a similar amount of miles at a similar pace, so we decided we’d meet early to beat the crowds and be at 72nd (where it starts) St at 7 am.

Saturday 6:21 rolls around it’s  pouring. Jessica and her friend bail and I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t do it later as I had a whole day planned (Cirque du Soleil included) and working at the NYC Tri the next day. It was then or never. I pout. The rain didn’t scare me but running alone for so long did. Ugh. I kept pouting. Poor Juan was trying to motivate me like he was on commission!!

He was doing Team Championships too so he was having breakfast, I kept pouting. 5 minutes later we both dozed off!!!!! Eeeeek, we woke up at 8:20!!!!! We had to rush to make it to the race start (he barely did!! had to start at the back!), I threw shorts on and headed out. F this! I am going anyway!

wow, it was PERFECT!!!!!!!

There was no one there. I had the whole Park Avenue for myself. The rain felt nice too and after a couple of miles it had stopped. I was barely wet and very comfortable!

By the time I hit Grand Central, I decided to check out the Park Avenue Tunnel. There is usually a loooong looooong line and I hate lines. No line!!!!

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The complete darkness was so amazing. I love running in zero vision, it’s the best feeling, it makes you feel like you’re flying. FUN.

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Back out on the other side. I just love these sights. Mostly when it’s all empty.

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Getting to Union Square

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Soon I was all the way downtown, by Foley Square. I forget how short the city is. it’s probaby 4.5 from 72nd to the Brooklyn Bridge. I tried the bridge but it was, as usual, too crowded for my taste. So I headed back up!summer streets nyc 2014 run running (12)

These water stops are my favorite, I love that I don’t need to bring anything! A girl at Bicycle Habitat gave me nuun pills, a guy a bottle water: ha! magic!

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As soon I got all the way back up to 72nd I noticed I still needed 4 more miles so I went back down again. Weather looked perfect now on Park Avenue.

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Running back on the Upper East I noticed there were people trumpets on EVERY BLOCK. Sometimes 2 or 3 per block… all playing one note. It was the weirdest thing… As soon as one of the would not be playing, I’d ask them what the deal was but none of them would tell me what the deal was, they’d just point to their hats that read “trumpet city”*, after a bit they started playing. It was so cool to have a soundtrack at MY speed… ah nyc!!!

Anyway, the main thing here is that:

1- I did IT. I run all 14 by myself

2-  I had a FANTASTIC time (thanks NYC for being so OSOM!)

3- I was so happy after, and barely sore compared to last week’s 12 (it was ugh).


things are going well… 😉


*Found it:Trumpet City. Trumpet City is a 60 minute live-installation of 18 or more trumpets performing outdoors in a public space. Next Realization: Saturday, August 2, 11:30am-12:30pm | Part of the NYC Department of Transportation’s Summer Streets Program | 91 trumpetsline Park Avenue from 46th Street at the Helmsley Building to 72nd Street..

Do you “like” to run hard?

I really don’t.

I always knew I run my easy runs too slow, my long runs too too slow and I do my tempos and intervals with very little enthusiasm. I realized this morning, when a friend was dragging me through a fast half mile (which was probably at 9mm) that I just don’t like pushing! Ever!!!

Two weeks ago, when I was in Florida, I run with two coworkers that were, as they said, slower than me. Compared recent times, and I felt safe, it’d be a fun easy run… and then they took off at a “can’t talk” pace for what was an easy run for them. I run with Kettia often, and even years before when there was a gap in our race times, she’d make me cry in training runs. Even this past winter, I run with her group in training for the NYC Half, and even though I ended up racing faster than them, I was crying and dragging during the long runs… Kettia says I show up for race day. I know I don’t like pushing hard, so I limit myself to the races for that.


I DO LIKE WHEN MY “EASY” IS “FAST”, that’s what I would call a good performance. But that, obviously, takes a lot of work to achieve… I’d even say that my fastest times were easy, and I was completely relaxed. It felt nice.

Right now I am at SLOW AND EASY, meh. And I know that I need to run hard to get fast… it’s gonna be tough. Or slow.

I know some of you go hard (at “can’t chit chat” pace) even for easy runs. My husband, for example, doesn’t even know what slow or easy mean. He goes all out in every run. I call him “one-speed-Juan”. He’d go out at the same hard pace whether he was doing 7 miles or 18, to end up just walking back (suicide pace works?). I’d measure my effort by heart rate, or by the talk test… I can go fast, only when it feels easy… Most of the people I know are the opposite though, they take off, always, like it’s a race. Ugh.

Am I alone here? Or do you also prefer to go out hard, have a better workout, train like an animal, get stronger/faster; if so, did you always enjoyed it or is it something that you learned to like over time?

I just like to do a running tour and watch people and birds and trees and bop to my music! I wonder if there is a way to wake up the beast in me or the competitive in me? I have ZERO of that!

I don’t know what to do

I have two races up ahead, very close, LOOMING:

2014 nyc half photos

March 16, New York City Half Marathon

boston marathon elite field

April 21, Boston Marathon

I am in no shape to race or PR at any, but I could probably finish them. Well, the half at least. Boston, I am not sure. When I did NYC Marathon 3 months ago I was in awful shape (and still better than now!) and it was horribly painful. I have two options. Sludge through the half and do my best to prep for Boston. It’s quite lame actually. Or: do the half as a training run, and skip Boston.

This has been my mileage for the past weeks:

  • Week of January 20: 8 miles total
  • Week of January 13: 31 miles total
  • Week of January 6: 23 miles total
  • Week of December 30: 6 miles total
  • Week of December 23: 7 miles total
  • Week of December 16: 16 miles total

Not really any kind of half or full marathon preparation. I think I should not race Boston. I haven’t commited mentally (I haven’t even gotten hotel room, and we KNOW that’s another big issue!) and I am not in shape. But still, just like with NYCM last year, I can’t seem to be able to say no. What’s wrong with me?

I choose NOT to be a better runner

Yes, you read that right. 

I made this decision a while back. And it was Right. For me. It’s who I am.
But, I was reading Matt Fitzgerald’s “Runner’s World Guide To Cross-training” and at the end he lists things we should be doing to be “a better runner”. All obvious stuff: sleeping, eating well, hydrating, etc., etc., and as obvious as all that is, “life” (or my life, at least) goes in the other direction. And yes, I could change it, and be a better runner… 
But no, I chose to go out, I chose to eat all I want, and whatever I want, and it’s ok if it affects my running. So be it. I own the consequences of my choices.
I run because I like it. I run because it’s good for my health. I run because it helps me relax and think. I run because it allows me to eat all I want and makes my body look and feel like I am 22 without having to go to the gym, diet, cosmetic surgery, tanning beds, and all that gross stuff.
I want my running to bring that good stuff into my life, and NOT to take stuff out. I am not willing to cut my nights short, or miss out on quality time with friends or family. I am not willing to say no to that donut, that cupcake, that steak, or anything else. 
I love running THIS much BECAUSE it is NOT stopping me from doing all the other things I like. I am not willing to sacrifice much from my life to run a few seconds faster. So I am ok with having less speed, or less endurance, or being a bit heavier on my feet.
I will cross-train a bit to avoid injury, I’ll give him that. I’ll do drills and I’ll wear flat shoes most days. I’ll hydrate, I’ll sleep a bit more when I can, and I’ll eat good stuff half the times. I’ll give him all that too. And I’ll ice-bath (who am I kidding? I love the ice baths!).
So it is OK if I never ever reach my full potential as a runner. I don’t mind. But I love and enjoy my running more this way, because it’s not taking anything away from me.
Pre said that “giving less than your best is sacrificing the gift“. But, what is that “best”? And what is that “best” for me? And what is my “gift”?
For him, it probably was to suffer in the track, to leave it all out there, to get to the point of blood and guts and broken bones and knowing he did all he could to win. Ah, Running and Pain go so close together… But what is it about with glorifying the pain in this sport? WHO likes pain???? No, don’t lie. No one likes it… You like knowing you are tough and you can withstand anything and feeling unbreakable, but no one likes the pain itself. Still, pain is inevitable here. I am still trying to learn to subject myself to as little pain as possible, short of walking. I might be sacrificing the gift, but I don’t think that’s “my gift”. My best is definitely something else. It’s not in a PR. It’s not in how many miles I suffer through, how high I place, how fast I can get, how many PRs in a row I score, how many races I do or qualify for. That is not the measure of me. 

To practice pacing or to suicide-pace and drop, that’s the question

I am a bit addicted to a few blogs so my Google Reader and Pocket apps are pretty much all I pay attention the 12 minutes I have in the train. I have a few blogs I always read, no matter how old they are, and I have them all saved up there for when I have time to catch up. One of them is Reid Coolsaet’s (olympic marathoner from Canada!) and he posted something over a month ago that stuck with me for a while, so I had to share it or it’s going to kill me.

He had gone training to Kenya and was talking about their training pace strategy:

… “I know I’ve written about this phenomenon before but it still blows my mind that Kenyans stay with the leaders as long as they can only to drop out…- The mentality is to stay with the lead group as long as possible and hope that next week they can stay up there longer. As opposed to completing the full workout and hopefully later on they can complete it faster.”

Instead of going out at a hard pace they can sustain, they all run with the big boys for as long as they can; then they drop. CRAZY.

Now you see why this stuck with me right? It’s completely the opposite of what most of us do!!!!

In the physiological side of matters, it makes complete sense. Go for quality first (speed), then you add quantity (endurance) after. But then there is the race day issue: how do you know what pace you can actually sustain? how fast do you go out? You’re  really (all) out on a limb (or two).

If I was a Kenyan looking for a paycheck, and then if I am not placing it’d be better to save the legs and drop, it would definitely make sense to race (and train) like that. But for me, all I have to do is finish a race as fast as possible, hopefully faster than last time. Key word: finish. Not: drop out if my pace is not winning PR pace.

BUT I still think this kamikaze way of pacing in training workouts is a very interesting notion we can gain something from. I’ve done some tempos where I negotiated with myself how far I’d keep going, based on feel, mostly because I always want to quit it, so it’s similar in a way though really the opposite because I am wimp with speedwork. But I’ve never gone out at suicidal pace, to just die out there in a tempo or something.

Thoughts? Will you try it out too and report back?

TMobile Shoe4Africa 5K RR (Or: Another race time I can’t explain…)

A race that didn’t sell out a week before!??! Well, I looked at the weather, saw that it was going to be in the 50s on Sunday and signed in. I don’t race well when it’s cold…

This race had it all. Small (Around 500 or so to close registration), close to me, amazing raffle prizes (samsung phones, kinects, you name it!), a tech shirt, funds go to a great cause, and NOT in Central Park… PERFECT, i am IN! Of course I LOVE Central Park… but a girl needs a bit of diversity once in a while, am I riiight? 
And a 5K! I never do 5Ks! So exciting! I did the one in August, in Brooklyn, where I PRed for the first time in 14 months, in 21:09, average pace was 6:49.
And I figured I was in WAAAAAY better shape now so I should deeeeeefinitely go under 21 minutes. Didn’t think about pace per se but I would DEFINITELY SAVE those pesky 10 seconds somewhere, right? you’d think so…
Sunday, weather was around 41, I found a couple of team-mates there, we got ready, it was a really small crowd. I took my clothes off, lined up, and was FREEZING. Shivering and my teeth were jumping. Countdown, we go. There was a couple of loops, a few ups and downs, but it was a pretty easy course. I was close to the start line so for a bit I was leading the women’s race, 5 minutes into it, around 4 or 6 women had passed me. You’d think I would be able to keep count? No. I was so cold, I had gone out waaay too fast and I was now paying the price. Mile 1; 6:51. BAD. Whatever it is, it will end soon, finish your dayum speedwork, maybe we can catch a few of them later. Mile 2; 6:57. Well, that was obvious, but yeah, I can pick it up on the last one, right? NO. Mile 3: 7:07. What. A. Mess. Seriously. Last part was run at a 6:38 effort. But it was too little too late.
Is my cadence (Avg Step Rate) getting out of control or what?!?!
I always wonder how unpredictable racing can be for me. I am not gonna lie, I didn’t go to sleep early or ate the right things or all of those things. But I didn’t in my last two races (Berlin Marathon, Fifth Avenue Mile) either and that worked out. How is it that I just really never know?  The only explanation I have is that it was cold-ish. I don’t race well in the cold BUT I race great when it’s HOT, so maybe it’s that… oh well, WHATEVER. 
I shrugged it off in a minute. I really couldn’t care less. Lots of amazing people were there and I just wanted to say hell to everyone! Added 3 more miles with my team mates to cool down, and then they did the raffle. Seriously, I had never seen such amazing prizes!! Ate a cereal bar, put back all the clothes and run back home for a total 5 miles post race: WIN!
Finish time: 21:34. Average Pace: 6:56
Previous PR: 21.09. From: August 2012
Age Grading: 69.94%
Overall Place: 28 of 336
Gender Place: 4 of 185
Age Place: 2 of … not sure.
I haven’t signed up for anything else yet but there are two more races this month I started looking at. I have already done a total of 14 this year, so I could stop here and be happy with how this year went. I really could sit and tell myself how great I did. This year can probably go in the books as my best running year so far.
And actually, I am close to the time when we stop getting faster… Or soon. And if my 3 PRs from this year are the last ones I get, well, I think I can live happily with that. Happy Monday and here’s to Very Happily Ever After PRs!

TMobile Shoe4Africa 5K RR (Or: Another race time I can’t explain…)