The John Theissen Freaky 5k

As a lover of Halloween, when I started seeing ads for this local race, I was intrigued. A skeleton tech tee, trick or treating, and only 3 miles from my apartment? Well, I was sold. So I texted some friends to assemble a crew, and both Mike and Carson agreed to join in. 

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Mike was just two weeks away from the NYC marathon, and I was trying to get on track with training for dopey in January, so we had more miles on our schedule than a 5k calls for. So, we decided to take advantage of this being a local race, and run there and back. 

I rolled out of bed just before 7 am on race morning, and Mike ran to my apartment from his house - he had to get in 12 miles, and I had to get in 9, so the little extra distance would bring him to his goal. It was the first cold morning of the season, in the low 40s, and I was excited to pull out some of my favorite cold weather gear. Since it was a Halloween race, I also pulled out my x-wing pilot costume as well, and used it as my top layer. 

Mike got to the apartment just as I stepped outside, and after a quick stretch we were on our way. We chatted about life, the dopey challenge, and how Mike had done so well with training for his first marathon, which was fast approaching. I kept an eye on my watch as we went, as Mike had to sign up for the race when we got there, so we needed to be there before 8. 

Once we arrived, we were able to get Mike all registered, then we stretched out as we waited for Carson to arrive. When she got there I passed her a race bib and shirt, as I had been able to pick up her race day gear. While there was day of registration and bib pickup, they also offered advance bib and shirt pickup, so Den had swung by the John Theissen store front the day before to pick up Carson and my bibs, since we had pre-registered. I quickly used Carson’s car as a changing room, and lost some layers before it was time to start the race. 

The three of us headed towards the start line, stopping and putting our raffle tickets into various bins before the race - they had some great prizes, from sporting events and concerts to headphones and Apple products. As we prepared to get moving I told Mike and Carson I was gonna try to really race this one, since my knee had been feeling better. I put on my headphones, and when the start horn went off followed the crowd to see where it would lead me. 

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My first quarter mile clocked in faster than expected - I hadn’t been looking at my watch, and as the crowd thinned out I checked my pace, and it was sub-7. Whoops. I governed my speed a little bit, and settled to a pace right around an 8-minute-mile, since that was what I was hoping for. The course was easy enough to follow, and my first mile rang in at 7:57. My stomach was a little knotted, but I felt good otherwise. 

There was a water stop just after the first mile, and a candy stop during the second mile. We were running through residential areas, and it was cute to see kids outside in their Halloween costumes, spectating the race. Mile 2 came in at 8:14, and while the pace was hard, there was only one more mile. I could push it for one more mile. My knee felt good, even if my stamina was feeling like it had faded a little. 

One mile to go, and I was going to try to keep pushing it. I turned up the volume on my headphones, and followed the beat of the songs that were playing. I had made a short playlist on Spotify the night before to get me through the race, and I was glad I had it playing. There was another water station in the third mile, and as it came to a close I could spot the train station in the distance, which was right near the finish line. Two more turns, and I would be able to see the race awesome finish line. I kicked up the pace a little, and pushed it as I finished the last bit of the race - 3.1 complete, in 25:35, at around at 8:09 pace. 

I was really happy with my finish time, thrilled that my knee felt fine, but mostly glad that they were handing out water at the finish line - I needed it! I walked towards the runners that were turning the final corner and plopped down on a curb, to watch for Mike and Carson, as I figured they would be coming around the corner soon. When I spotted them they were all smiles as they headed for the finish line. 

The three of us reunited, and headed towards the post race refreshments- they had quite the spread! Bagels, hot soup, candy, cookies, brownies, breakfast bars, and more! I opted for a banana and grabbed some Halloween candy for later. We were waiting for the race results to be posted, so our next stop was to look at the raffles, which had been pulled while we were running- and to my surprise, I won an iPad mini! I collected my prize, and then headed to the soup line. 

When the race results posted, the three of us crowded around the lists- Carson and I had both placed 3rd in our age group, and Mike had placed 5th in his! Woo hoo! 

When the award ceremony started, we learned that the awards went five deep in each age group, so we would all be getting medals. When they announced Mike’s age group, it turned out that he had actually came in fourth! We were all excited to have placed in our age groups, and once we collected our awards it was time for Mike and I to start running home. 

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We took it easy as we finished up our miles, three more for me to make it to 9. The one eventful part of the run home? Mike spotted a frame that he wanted, so we called Carson with a mission to retrieve it since she had her car. 

By the time we made it back to the apartment I had totaled about 9.6 miles, and my knee felt relatively normal - my legs were tired, but more from being less used to long distances that I normally am. 

All in all, it was a great morning for a local race, and I had a great time spending Sunday with my friends. 

Gear Roundup: BUFF® Tech Fleece Headband

Disclaimer: I received a BUFF® Tech Fleece Headband to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

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As the temperature drops and we head into winter, I add layers to my running outfits. I move from shorts to leggings, from t-shirts to long sleeve shirts, and then start adding a vest or a jacket to my ensemble as the winter gets colder.

But before I even increase the length of my pants or transition to long sleeves, I pull out my two mandatory pieces of winter gear – a headband that covers my ear and a pair of gloves. My current favorite running gloves, which I have mentioned in blog posts before, are a pair of brooks gloves that have a mitten option that pops out of a pocket (they are an older model, but closest to the “nightlife” glove that they currently sell). 

As for headbands, I have a little more of a collection. My go to has been a newbalance one that I bought with the NYC marathon logo on it in 2017, and then I have two other ones that float around. Point is, I am a fan of headbands that can keep my ears cozy when I run. 

When BibRave opened up an opportunity to test a Buff tech fleece headband, I signed up to give one a try. My headband arrived in the mail about a week later, and I was excited to try it out! The first things that I noticed about the headband were that the material was much thinner than other headbands I have, and the inside was so soft! The headband is supposed to be wind resistant, and since I was set to volunteer at a race that was going to be cold and windy I thought it would be perfect to try out the next morning.

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The Buff website lists the product details for this headband, and it includes that the headband is made of stretchy polyester elastane with a soft brushed fleece inside. It is also moisture wicking, quick drying, and breathable – I have had issues with other headbands winding up soaked through with sweat in cold weather, so this was another feature I was looking forward to testing. 

The first day I wore the headband, it stayed in place and kept me warm as I ran around performing various volunteer duties. It was so windy that day that the finish line chute had to be assembled last minute so that it wouldn’t blow away, and despite all that windiness my ears stayed warm – which I took as a “check” in wind resistant column. 

About a week passed before it was cold enough on a morning run to warrant a headband, but was soon as the temps dropped into the 40s, I put my new headband on as I headed out the door.

The headband was so comfortable, that I almost forgot I was wearing it! With other headbands I sometimes have the issue that I sweat through it, and then I am very aware of how cold the air is as the white headband sits on my ears. But with my new buff tech fleece headband I never had that issue. I am looking forward to more miles with my headband as the winter continues to get colder. I am confident it will keep my ears warm and keep me comfortable for many miles.

If you’re interested in trying out your own Buff Tech fleece headband, head to www.buffusa.com/bibrave and sign up for their emails for a 15% off coupon code! Let me know what you think of your new headband too – because I am guessing you’ll love it as much as I do once you feel the softness of the fleece.

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Gear Roundup: Orange Mud Transition Wrap 2.0

Disclaimer: I received an  Orange Mud Transition Wrap 2.0  to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

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As I trained for my first triathlon last summer, more than once I found myself in a public area and in need of an outfit change. I know, I know – they make plenty of clothing for triathletes that you can wear from swim to bike to run, but as a newbie to the sport, my wardrobe was more limited. I owned heavy padded bike shorts, that were no good for running and a bathing suit that needed to be changed out of after a swim, which lead to me searching for a public restroom or climbing into my car and trying to be discrete as I swapped outfits.

As the seasons changed to fall and my swims moved inside, I was trekking to the public pool armed with ratty old pool towels, that were hand-me-downs from my mother in law. They got the job done, but were a bit more bare bones with each use.

I had heard other triathletes talk about using a transition towel, and even seen a few put them to use. So when the BibRave team presented an opportunity to work with Orange mud and their new transition wrap 2.0, I applied to be a tester.

When I received my Orange Mud Transition wrap 2.0 from the folks at Orange Mud, it was all neatly packaged up in its bag. I got a purple one, and happily plopped it into my gym bag so it could come along for my next swim. I was surprised at how much softer it was than a standard towel

Now, the orange mud transition wrap 2.0 is more than just a standard pool towel. It is billed as a towel with three uses

  1. It has a zipper on one end that enables you to hook it onto your car seat, so that when you are sweaty after a workout you can protect your car seat

  2. It has an integrated adjustable belt so that you can wear it around your body while you change under it

  3. Of course, it has the standard feature every towel comes with – it can dry you off when you are wet

The next time I headed to the pool, I tried out the belt feature that the towel has. To give myself a little added privacy in the locker room I clipped the towel around me. I found that it worked better for me when I clipped it around my shoulders instead of around my waist, since it has to wrap around itself for me to securely clip it to my waist – which would work if I was just changing my pants, but made getting a one piece bathing suit on more complicated than it needed to be.

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But it checked the box of having a private place to change – so it was onto the next, and most basic test: How would it perform as a towel?

I got my laps in, and wrapped the towel around my body once I finished my swim. Once again, I was surprised at how soft the towel was. It felt smooth on my skin, rather than abrasive as old pool towels sometimes seem. I headed to the locker room and used the towel to dry off before changing. It did the job faster than a normal towel, and didn’t feel sopping wet as I tucked it back into my gym bag. When I got home I hung it out to dry, even though it seemed to have mostly dried off already.

There was only one thing left to check – how was it on a car seat? I headed for a run with mt friend Mike, and he offered to drive us to a local path. I packed my towel in my running bag, figuring I could save his seat from my sweat on the ride home.

After the run the towel easily zipped up and attached to the seat’s head rest. Mike pointed out that I we had taken his car to hot yoga in the past, and that I had already gotten his seat all sweaty once – but hey, thanks to orange mud I can now be a more considerate friend, and leave my stink behind a little less often!

All in all, this towel has quickly become my new favorite. It has already become a staple in my gym bag, and I am sure next summer it will come along for many open water swims and bike rides. If you are in the market for a towel that does more than just dries you off – the Orange Mud transition wrap 2.0 is just what you are looking for.

Chicago marathon training: End of the Line

If you follow me on Instagram, you know where this post is going: I finally bit the bullet and deferred my entry to the 2019 Chicago Marathon. 

After what was feeling like a great training cycle, I managed to aggravate my knee. After a week of pain I headed to the doctor, and after an x-ray an an orthopedist visit, the doctor told me that my knee cap wasn’t tracking directly - patellar tracking disorder. They told me which brace I needed, and handed me a prescription for physical therapy. 

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“Great!” I thought. There was no major damage, just an inflammation that could be resolved. I had almost two months before race day, which would hopefully be more than enough time to bounce back. I didn’t run at all for two weeks, instead swimming and biking to keep my cardio up. I went to PT like the doctor recommended. When I started running again, I listened to the physical therapists advice and took it slow. 

When the physical therapist evaluated me, he felt that it wasn’t patellar tracking disorder, but an injury that was acting like it. He thought that I must have side stepped at some point, and my knee cap displaced and caused the lingering irritation. 

As race day grew closer, the deferment deadline approached and I was faced with a tough decision. My running was still minimal, and the PT had told me I should only run distances that didn’t cause pain - which was capping me at about 4 miles by deferment day. 

So, I made the difficult decision and deferred my registration to 2020. I was too nervous about hurting myself if I pushed to up my mileage in preparation for race day, and it just didn’t feel like the smart choice. Plus, I want to be healthy for the Dopey challenge in January. 

Now, almost two months after the initial pain in my knee I have some good days where it feels normal-ish, and some bad days where it is achey all day and hurts if I even think about running.

Thankfully, I was able to refund both my flight and hotel, so that was a silver lining. At least the only “cost” was the race entry, and by deferring I will have a spot waiting for me next fall, and I can hope that the next go around, I will be ready to take this race on. 

To those of you heading to Chicago this weekend to take on 26.2, I wish you the best of luck, and remind you to trust your training!

Video Recap: Seawheeze Half Marathon

Hi guys! Today I’m sharing the footage that I shot on my GoPro during the Seawheeze Half marathon.

It was a good course, that the humidity made a bit challenging at times. Overall, it was a fun racing experience.

Have you ever ran the Seawheeze Half? Comment on my video and share your experience if you have!

Race Recap: Nassau County Police Department Memorial 5k

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This is the second time I was participating in the NCPD Memorial 5K, as excited to get out for a good cause. The race fundraisers for the families of the fallen officers from the Nassau County Police Department. Coming from a family of cops, I think that the families of fallen officers should always receive support from the community.

Plus, the last time I did this race it was a great time! It’s an easy and quick course through Eisenhower Park that is entirely flat, and they don’t even make you run over the grass which sometimes happens with races in that park. I had originally asked my cousin Ryan to run this race with me, but he was under the weather tonight. I texted Mike to see if he still had plans, for the last time we had discuss the race he was busy. But lucky for me – his other plans fell through and he was able to come run with me.

The race happened on a Monday night, so after work I headed home and change into the shirt that I wore for the New York City Marathon in 2017, which featured the NYPD running club. I swung by Mike’s house and picked him up, and we head to the park together. It’s a local race for us so it only took about 10 minutes to get there.

The parking lot closest to the race were already filled up, and I didn’t want to park on the grass this time around us so I opted for a slightly further out parking lot. We’re already going to be running a 5K, so with a little extra walking really matter. We got over to the race area just as people are starting to head to the start line, and fell into the massive group of people waiting to get going. Soon after there was announcement at the start was going to be delayed by 10 minutes. I looked around us and waited in the starting corral knowing that a lot of the tri team was going to be doing this race and spotted a few of the jerseys ahead of us. We weaved through the group of waiting runners and I spotted Tara. 

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She asked me what my plan for this race was, and honestly I didn’t really have one. I just plan on sticking with Mike and letting whatever piece happened it just happened. But when she greeted me she had told me that she was hoping to see me, so I could pace her for this race. I asked her what time she wanted to run, and she said something in the eights. I knew that Mike had been able to hold pieces that fast as he had been coming with me lately to do a few miles during my tempo runs, so I figured we may as well go for it. 

The national anthem was saying, and the race finally begin just a few minutes delayed. At first it was very crowded, with over 700 runners doing this event and no real seeding system runners of all different paces were starting at the same time. Made for a congested start, but with a little bit of weaving we were able to break into a less congested area of the race. The 1st mile including out and back portion where we ran towards the aquatic center in the park, and then we ran back towards the start area and spotted other members of the Tri team among the spectators. A lot of people that I knew spectating the race, and it was exciting do you hear them shout out my name as I ran by. At one point we ran through so many people that I knew, that Mike joked he would pay someone a dollar just to cheer for him. My watch buzzed to indicate that we had ran a mile just as we passed the 1st mile marker, an 8:29 pace. Before starting we had said we would try to stay between 830 and 845, so I tried to slow the pace down a little bit going into mile two that way there wouldn’t be any burnouts. But so far Mike and Tara were both sticking with me and looking strong.

It was a nice night out despite being August in New York, and Even the humidity was tolerable. I was surprised with how little I was sweating, and overall just felt really good. The week before this race I had totaled 50 miles, so I really didn’t expect these pieces to be coming without a high level of effort even the humidity was tolerable. I was surprised with how little I was sweating, and how overall i felt really good. The week before this race I had totaled 50 miles, so I really didn’t expect these paces to be coming without a high level of effort. There was a water stop in the 2nd mile, but I didn’t manage to get over in time. Sorry Mike and Tarah, if you guys had really wanted water at that point. I figured it was only a 5K, so we would survive to the end even if it sucked a little bit. The true torture came when we ran by an ice cream truck shortly after, and I didn’t even have any change to get something. We finished mile 2 with an 8:40 pace, as we weaved through a more wooded area of the park. At this point I kept a little bit of a closer eye on the pace - I wanted to make sure that we all would be able to stay together to the finish line.

I tried to cheer on my fellow runners as Mike, Tara and I pushed to keep the pace. We looped through the back side of Eisenhower park, and were soon nearing the area that we started the race in, and closing in on our third mile. Mike fell behind a little bit during the last mile, so as we approached the finish line I told Tara to go on without me, and slowed a little so Mike and I could be reunited, and finish the race together. When he caught up to me he was practically sprinting, and I met his pace as we raced for the finish line together. - we finished the race in 26:38, a new PR for Mike!

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There were volunteers handing out cool towels and water bottles at the finish line, and those towels were amazing. We caught our breath, and then walked around the post-race area until we found the BBQ. They had catering from Texas roadhouse, and each runner was able to select two hot foods, a side, and a drink. I got a hot dog, a chicken slider, a oatmeal cookie, and a seltzer. They were also handing out draft beer to the runners, so Mike and I each got a pint, and I passed mine along to him once we found a seat to eat, since beer isn’t really my thing. The beer was unlimited for each runner, you just had to being back your cup to get more.

Mike and I enjoyed our tiny feast, watching other runners finish their race as the sun set in the park. Once we were finished eating we chatted with some of my friends from the tri team, as we waited for the raffles to be drawn - each runner had been given a raffle ticket, and there were additional tickets available for purchases, with some great prizes. We didn’t wind up winning anything though, and headed home after the numbers had been drawn.

Overall, I love this event, from the cause it supports, to the BBQ after the race, and the T-shirt that they give out, and I hope I will be able to run it for years to come.

Gear roundup: AfterShokz Xtrainerz

Disclaimer: I received a pair of AfterShokz Xtrainerz to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

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As a newly minted BibRave pro, I was excited to see what kind of products I would get to test out - I already knew the community was great, and full of supportive runners, but I was looking forward to testing out some new products!

Shortly after joining, it was announced that there would be an opportunity to test a new product that AfterShokz was releasing, targeted at swimmers and triathletes. Since I had just finished my first triathlon over the summer, and needed some motivation to get back in the pool, I signed up, hoping to be selected. 

Just after being told to take two weeks off from running, I got an email that boosted my mood a little- I was selected to review the new AfterShokz product, called Xtrainerz (pronounced “cross trainers”), which are water proof headphones! I would get so much use out of them, as I planned to focus on swimming while I couldn’t run. Plus, I had heard so many good things about AfterShokz (Kasey runs with their headphones) but had never tried them myself, so I was excited to get my first pair!

Before I go into my experience with the Xtrainerz, let me get into product specs a little -

The Xtrainerz are waterproof in up to six feet of salt or fresh water, and even went through a 72 hour salt spray test with no corrosion - As a former test engineer, who used to perform this kind of testing on a regular basis, I can tell you salt spray testing is no joke! I have seen products come out of salt spray testing in totally unsafe conditions, so it is no small feat that these little headphones were impervious to the corrosion it can cause. The headphones have 4GB of MP3 storage, ready and waiting to be filled with your favorite tunes, podcasts, or audio books. The controls on the headphones can turn power on and off, set the music to shuffle, repeat, or play in order, and navigate between folders, so you can selectively listen to whatever you’re feeling on a given day. They also have an option to toggle between “swim” mode and “normal” mode

When my package finally arrived in the mail, it had AfterShokz branding on the outside, and I excitedly opened them up. They were nicely packaged, and even had some BibRave orange tissue paper in the box. After opening them up I popped them on, excited to try out bone conduction technology for the first time. To my surprise, they had a charge, and were even loaded with a few sample songs. 

I mostly stream my music, so I had to track down some MP3s to load onto the headphones built in storage. There isn’t a Bluetooth connection for the Xtrainerz, so streaming isn’t an option. Bluetooth can’t travel through water, so it makes sense that the headphones would just rely on their built in storage. 

After going through my iTunes library, I was able to convert some of my songs to MP3s, which are compatible with the headphones. I placed the headphones into their USB dock, and connected to my computer. No software was necessary to load up the music to my headphones, as they acted like a usb drive when I connected. So I was able to just drag and drop the music onto the headphones, and they were ready to go. I tried them out a little as I hung out at home, and was excited for my next swim. 

When I got to the pool a few days later, I turned up the volume as I stepped onto the pool deck, since there was a lot of ambient noise. I jumped into the pool, and started my first lap. The sound seemed a little garbled at first, and I wondered if I should go back to the lockers and grab the ear plugs that came with the headphones. But a moment later my ears had adjusted to the water, and I realized the issue was my ears, not the headphones, as the music was playing loud and clear - I even had to turn the volume down a little, as it was quieter under water than it had been on the pool deck. 

It was almost a surreal experience to have water while swimming, as I’m used to silence as I count my laps to pass the time. I was able to settle into a groove as a swam along to the music, the laps slipping away. Much more entertaining than doing mental math as I swim, which I have resorted to in the past.

The next time I swam with them, I decided to try the ear plugs that the came with. I had never swam with ear plugs in before, but as someone who often has to play the “shake your head at odd angles” game after swimming, I figured it was something worth trying. 

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My first thought: why did I not try this sooner!? The ear plugs made me so much more comfortable, and made me feel like I was the only one in the pool as I listened to my music. After only a few swims, I’m already spoiled by these headphones. 

Tonight, I’m loading up an audio book (Harry Potter of course - what can I say, I’m predictable) and I’m looking forward to listening to it on my next swim. When I connect my headphones to the computer, the files look like they’re on any USB drive, and by putting the audiobook in its own folder, I can select just the book and not wind up listening to music between chapters. 

The only downside to these headphones? They don’t have any bluetooth connection, so I can’t stream to them using my cell phone, when I want to use them while I’m not swimming. Since most of the music I listen to I stream, it took me a few days to track down MP3s to load up the headphones. 

All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed my new AfterShokz Xtrainerz. They’ve been my first experience with bone conduction technology, and have surpassed all of my expectations. I love that they have storage built in, so I can go phone free, and that the buttons on the headset give me control over what I’m listening to. 

If you want to get your hands on a pair of Xtrainerz? If you visit www.bibrave.aftershokz.com you can save $50 on the endurance bundle of your choice when you use the coupon code BRBUNDLE.

Chicago marathon: Week 14

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This week had a slow start- coming back from the Alaskan cruise, Monday was an all day travel day for Den and I, and it felt like we were taking every mode of transportation to get home. The boat made it into the dock at Vancouver before we woke up, so we grabbed breakfast on the ship while we waited for our bags to clear customs. 

It was bittersweet having our last meal on the cruise, but it had been such a great trip. Once our bags cleared customs we disembarked the ship for the last time, and headed to the terminal to collect our stuff. From there we headed to the buses, as we had pre-booked airport transportation through the cruise line. It was about a 40 minute ride to the airport, and we had a bus driver who gave us color commentary throughout the drive. 

When we got to the airport we had to sit in a holding lot until the bus was cleared to drive in, and then it was the slow walk through customs. By the time our bags were checked and we were through security, we had about 45 minutes before our flight would start boarding. Since we would be landing at 9 pm NY time, I wanted to find food so I wouldn’t be starving. Once we boarded the flight it was smooth sailing for the most part, the biggest battle being trying to stay awake for the whole flight, so I could easily sleep when we got home.

My brother Kevin was nice enough to collect us from Newark, which is a hike from Long Island, and I was really happy we didn’t have to deal with the air train. When we finally got home it took me a while to settle in before heading to bed, and I knew the morning wake up was going to be harder than usual, with my body still functioning on west coast time. 

My fist run of the week didn’t happen until Wednesday night, since I took it easy on Tuesday to recover from the traveling, and to try to get my body to adjust back to my normal schedule. Plus, my knee was still bothering me, and I wanted to give it another day to see if there was any improvement. 

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That night I headed out solo after work, even though I did a bit of procrastinating before I got moving. But when I did get out, I felt okay at first. The miles felt really slow, and were more effort than usual, but I kept slogging forward. Eventually my knee hurt enough that I decided to stop for my knee brace, right around mile four. Immediately I was more comfortable, but the run was still far from easy. I had come that far though, and wanted to get in the seven miles that my schedule called for- I’m stubborn and I know it. I felt fine once the run was over. Tired, but fine. 

Well, remember when I said last week would have the least amount of running content? It turns out that was a lie. Because those seven miles were all I managed to run this week. I was so excited to get back into training and continue to build for Chicago, so this was a disappointing turn, to say the least.

When I got up Thursday morning I planned to run with Kasey. I got dressed, pulled on my shoes, and headed out the door. But it quickly became clear, based off of the pain level in my leg, that running was not an option. Since I knew Kasey was already headed my way, I hopped on my bike and biked with Dad while Kasey ran. I like my bike and all, but this was not what I wanted to be doing. My brain was quickly spiraling, as it tried to figure out what had happened with my knee.

The level of pain in my knee was severe enough that morning that I called my doctor that day and made an appointment for Friday. Race anxiety quickly settled in - what would happen to my marathon? Was I going to be able to run it still? 

My doctor sent me for an x-ray, and after looking at my knee was worried that I had a “lateral knee injury.” Great. It was a less than reassuring appointment, as I was hoping it was just tendinitis or something like that, which could be healed with rest. She banned me not only from running, but from biking as well. So, swim was all I had left. 

So on Saturday and Sunday that was what I did: I swam. Lucky for me, it was the last weekend that our public pools were open for the season, so I got in the water on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday I took it easy, and swam at a low effort level for about 50 minutes- 2,000 yards. Dennis came along to the pool with me, and honestly the company was the push that I needed to get my butt in the water.

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Since my knee didn’t hurt any more after swimming, I challenged myself on Sunday. Instead of just churning out laps, I alternated sets of “hard” pace laps and recovery laps, to get my heart rate up in hopes of not loosing too much cardio. I wanted to get in 2,000 laps again, but the lifeguards started blowing the whistle to indicate the pool was closing just before I hit my goal.

At this point, my marathon is still in limbo. When I got the x-ray done it was the Friday of Labor Day weekend, so I wasn’t anticipating getting results any sooner than Tuesday. I tried to keep myself busy, rearranging the apartment (with Dennis doing the bulk of actually moving stuff, and me more so pointing), and spending time with family and friends to distract from my worries.

So, here’s hoping that all my training doesn’t add up to nothing. 

Chicago marathon: week 13

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Ok guys, ready for the blog post with the least amount of running content of this training cycle? Well, welcome to the training recap for week 13, where I spent the week on vacation, cruising to Alaska from Vancouver with my husband Dennis. 

We had left New York on Friday, and spent the weekend in Vancouver. While we were there I got to run the Seawheeze half marathon, we went to the Vancouver aquarium, ate lots of yummy food, explored Stanley park, and checked out the Capilano suspension bridge, which was amazing. Come Monday, we checked out of our hotel and headed towards the cruise terminal, where we would set sail from.

It was my 5th Disney Cruise, but my first time aboard the Wonder, which is one of the fleets original ships. It is significantly smaller than the ships I had been on previously, the Fantasy and the Dream, and throughout the week I found myself comparing the experiences. Even though it here were less passengers on this ship, it felt much more crowded. 

We boarded the ship on Monday, after a fun weekend in Vancouver that included the Seawheeze half marathon, the capilano suspension bridge, and exploring Stanley Park. We were both so excited to get on the ship, and headed for the terminal around the 10:30 am. We had the hotel we were staying at, the Ramada by Wyndham in downtown Vancouver call us a taxi, since there is no Uber or lyft in Vancouver, and we had a ton of luggage. This may have been the best choice I made all week, as it only cost us $8, and was so much easier than taking the train with all our stuff, as we had done when we first got to Vancouver. The train system was simple, but it was hard to not be in the way of other passengers with all of our luggage. When the taxi dropped us off at the cruise terminal, Disney had people collecting our bags, so we handed the bulk of our luggage over at this point. 

The port officially started accepting passengers at 11 am that morning, so we were pleased when we got there at 10:50 and they were already allowing people to start the check in process. 

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Disney has a loyalty program called the “castaway club” on their cruise ships, and the more cruises you have been on the higher your level. My 5 cruises puts me in the “Gold” category, but my husbands 12 or so cruises lands him in “Platinum,” the highest section at present. The big perk of this? We get a free meal at palos, the premium dining on the ship, and dedicated lines at check in - which meant no line at all on this particular morning. The cruise staff were all so welcoming, and quickly got us through the terminal. We had to bring our carry on bags through security, and clear customs since we were heading from Canada back into America, on our journey to Alaska. 

Once we had our “key to the world” cards, the cards that you use for rooms and any purchases that you make on the ship, we waited in the terminal for the ship to be ready for passengers. The schedule told us that the ship would start boarding at 1:30 pm, so we hopped on line to snag a photo with Minnie Mouse while we waited. We settled into the lobby after, trying to catch a glimpse of the boat as we waited. 

Lucky for us, they were ready for passengers a little earlier than planned, and started letting us on board around noon. We were in boarding group one, so we were among the first group of passengers to load onto the ship. We spent some time wandering around the decks while they were still empty, and checking out the kids club and teen areas, which are open to the public on the first day, so that we could see what they looked like while we had the chance - they always have fun Disney touches, and they vary from ship to ship, so I was excited to get a look at them. 

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After we had toured around the ship for a while, we headed to Cabanas, the buffet, for lunch. We relaxed in there until our room was ready, and then headed down to deck two to drop off the bags that we had opted to carry on to the ship, which we had been lugging around since boarding. 

The ship was slated to leave at 4 pm, so around then we headed to a top deck, to get a view of Vancouver as we left. As we explored Vancouver we noticed a big pile of sulfur that was visible at an industrial park across from the port, and Dennis kept joking that he was super excited to see the pile of sulfur up close at last as we sailed away. 

Through the course of our weeklong cruise we headed to Dawes Glacier, Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagaway. 

Since we were spending the first day of our cruise at sea, and my body was still running on NY time (three hours ahead of our actual time zone at that point), I headed to the gym for a yoga class they were offering, and to get in some treadmill miles while I had the time. 

The yoga class was more guided stretching, but it was nice to get moving. The views were pretty from the top deck of the ship, where we could spot some islands to both sides of the boat as we sailed along. Having previously only done tropical cruises, it was strange to be able to see land throughout most of the cruise. When the yoga class ended I spent another 15 minutes stretching out my hamstrings and hips before heading inside to hop on the treadmill. 

The treadmill had a TV attached to it, and a handful of channels that played various Disney movies. I settled on the end of Big Hero 6, and eventually swapped over to Tarzan when it ended. I got in 6 miles before my stomach was really shouting for breakfast, and I headed back down to the room to see if Den was awake, and ready for food - my breakfast of choice for day one? Mickey waffles, of course.

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The second day of our trip was largely spent sightseeing, as we sailed down the Tracy arm passage towards the Dawes glacier. Den and I attended a talk given by a former park ranger about the nature and history of Alaska, and then bundled up to head our for our first excursion - we were boarding a smaller boat, which would be able to sail up to the glacier, while the Disney wonder had to keep its distance, as it was too large to make a close approach. 

Leading up to the cruise Den and I went back and fourth a lot, trying to decide if this excursion was worth the cost, but ultimately felt like we didn’t know how long glaciers would be around, and I wanted to see one up close while I had the chance. I have to say- if you ever get this opportunity, take it. This was by far my favorite experience of the cruise, from sailing along outside in the crisp Alaskan air, taking in waterfalls and mountains as we got closer to the glacier. When we finally approached the glacier, the boat spent about an hour going in circles, and Dennis and I stayed on deck the whole time. I wanted to take in the sights as much as possible, regardless of the temperature. 

Eventually our time at the glacier came to a close, and I was happy to get back into the heated ship, and to find some hot chocolate. 

We were supposed to go on a bike tour when we stopped in Ketchikan the next day, but it was unfortunately cancelled, as not enough people had signed up for it. We considered trying to hike on out own, but were warned of bears, and didn’t have access to bear spray. The other option was a bus tour or the white pass rail road, which looked beautiful, but I was concerned about sitting for such a long period of time, as my hip flexor has been causing issues for me any time I sit for more than an hour or two. Ultimately we decided to just explore the port area at Ketchikan, which was tiny and unlike any other port I have been to before. 

The town was tiny, and had multiple national park sites scattered through it. We could see mountains in every direction  as we wandered through town. We went into little shops, and even found a yarn store with Alaskan yarn. I was excited to pick out some vacation yarn that was hand dyed in the state, and am planning to knit up some socks with it. We went to each of the national park sites, and found two museums in town that we enjoyed checking out. Eventually we headed into a brewery, where Dennis tried some local beer and I wrote out postcards to mail home. 

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As people finished their excursions the town got more crowded, but by that time Dennis and I had wandered through most of the shops. So, we decided to get back on the ship and grab a bite to eat. We sat so that we had a view of the town from above as we ate lunch. 

Once we were finished eating, we went back to the room to relax for a bit. Once I was digested I decided to head to the gym to get a few miles in before dinner. Since we had excursions planned for the next two days, I wasn’t sure I would have the time or energy to get out after either, so I wanted to get in a few miles while I could. 

So, I headed to the gym and hopped on a treadmill again, which gave me a view of the town. This time I watched ratatouille as I ran. I wanted to get in at least 6 miles again, but my knee started to feel off around two miles into the run. I had to stop and stretch it a few times, and after each stretch it would feel ok for a few minutes, and then start hurting again. It was unusual, but I figured I had just overdone it at seawheeze or my shoes needed to be replaced. So I called the run after 5 miles, knowing that I had a hike planned for the next day. 

When the ship docked in Juneau the next day, we were lead off of the boat and to a an that was waiting for us in the port. It was rainy that day, but I was prepared with a baseball cap and my hydrophobic running jacket. There were two other families on the excursion with us, during which a tour guide would lead us through a 4 mile hike through the rainforest that surrounds the mendenhall glacier. We drove up “the road” as our tour guide called it, as it is the only highway in Juneau. He told us about the town as we headed towards the glacier, and handed out snacks to bring along when we got to the parking area. He offered hiking sticks as well, but I wanted to be able to have my  hands free for photos, so I passed. Dennis grabbed one though, and was happy to have it during the hike. 

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We headed into the forest, and the tour guide, Matt, told us facts and pointed out sights as we made our way through the forest. We chatted with him and the other families as we followed the path, getting higher up the mountain as we got deeper into the woods. 

 It was overcast, but the rain let up a bit as we kept hiking. The final uphill bit of the trek was up about 100 stairs that had been built in the woods, and we all stopped at the top to catch our breath and remove some layers when we got there. At the peak of the hike we noticed that there was some abandoned industrial equiptment, and our guide told us it was from when there was mining happening on the mountain.

On the way down we had a few scenic stops, one for a water fall and two that gave us peaks at the glacier. My knee was bothering me by the end of the hike, so I was happy when we were finished with the four miles. It had been a nice journey through nature, and I was ready for lunch as we headed back to the ship. That day we opted to not head back into the town to explore, since my knee was sore and it was still raining on and off. Instead we took it easy on the boat until dinner time, and then headed to a pin trading event before going to the show of the night - the Frozen musical. The theater was totally full by the time the show started, so I was glad we got there early to make sure we had seats. The show was great, with some amazing puppetry, costumes, and sets.

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The next day was our final port of the trip - Skagway. We had another excursion, this time kayaking. Luckily, it seemed like the weather was going to be nicer, and when we got off of the ship things were looking good. We had about a half hour ride to get to the boat that would take us to the Tatooish islands, where we would board Kayaks and go on a guided tour. The dock that we left from was a part of a tour company, and there was a friendly dog running around, who I was very excited to say hello to - after a week on a boat I was so happy to see an animal.

To get to the area we would be kayaking in we boarded zodiak boat a with the tour guides and other people who were participating in the excursion. After a quick safety briefing we were allowed to climb into kayaks, and the guides pushed us into the water. About 60 seconds into the tour someone managed to flip their Kayak, something I would not call an easy thing to do, and I spent the rest of the time slightly paranoid that I was going to wind up in some very cold water. We paddled around the island formation, as the guides told us about the area. We even spotted some bald eagles, seals, and deers. It was a really nice ride, and a beautiful day out. When our time was up, we got to have cookies on the beach as we waited for the Zodiak to pick us up.

When we got back to the port we walked around the town, exploring and picking out a few souvenirs. It was a good last port visit, before we boarded the boat. out next stop would be Vancouver, but we would have one more day at sea before our vacation came to a close. Since we knew we could sleep in on our last day at sea, we hung out at one of the bars on the ship on our last night, and even played the Disney version of the newly wed game - match your mate. We didn’t win, but they did give us a free drink and a voucher for a free photo print from the shop on the ship.

On our final day of vacation we mostly relaxed, watching movies and eating lots of food. I tried to go for a run, but was forced to stop after about a mile and a half, as my knee gave out on me, and it made me feel like it wasn’t a safe running conditions for me. I was bummed, but hopeful that I just needed new shoes or a break from the treadmill. We packed our bags so they could be picked up that night, and then would be waiting for us on the other side of customs.

On Monday morning we disembarked the ship, and headed right to the airport via a Disney bus. It was bittersweet that a vacation that we had looked forward to for so long was over, but we had such an amazing time, and made so many memories.

If you are ever on the fence about a Disney cruise, this is me telling you to go for it - you won’t regret it. Even though it was an amazing trip, I was looking forward to getting home to our cats, and back into my regular routine.

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 12

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Going into this week I knew I would have a lot on my plate- Dennis and I would be leaving for vacation on Friday, and I still needed to get everything in order to go out of town, on top of getting in some miles and all of my usual life responsibilities. 

After a lot of mileage for the last two weeks, I was planning on cutting back a little bit during week 12. I was going to be running the SeaWheeze half marathon at the end of the week, and wanted to be rested enough that I could race, to test where my fitness is at. 

I had totaled 27 miles over the weekend, so a run was not happening Monday morning - instead I was registered to run the Nassau County Police Department Memorial 5k on Monday night. I was planning to run this race with my cousin Ryan, but he wasn’t feeling great. So instead I texted Mike, and got lucky because his plans had fallen through, so he was able to run with me instead!

There was a big crowd at the race, which wasn’t surprising since the weather was good and it was great cause. Mike and I both come from police families, so we were happy to be a part of this race. Initially we planned to just take it easy, but when we found Tara, one of my MBTT teammates, in the starting lineup and she asked if I would help her keep a pace around 8:45, I couldn’t resist. Keep an eye out, as I’ll be posting a race recap soon to talk about this fun night. 

Tuesday I once again had night running plans- I was really happy that I didn’t have to run in the morning, because my legs were SORE when I woke up that morning. I guess all of the miles and a race were catching up to me. 

The plan for Tuesday? My local running store, runners edge, was hosting a meatball run. You may wonder what a meatball run is - there is a restaurant called “the meatball place” right down the block from the running shop, so they occasionally do events with them. In this case, the event was sponsored by onCloud, and if you tried a pair of their shoes during a group run, you got a voucher for a meatball slider and a beer (or in my case, a cider- the voucher lets you get any drink that’s on tap). 

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Mike and I met up at the shop, since we were both coming from work. We were able to get a pair of shoes to sample, and I liked how wide the toe box was on these shoes. The group run would be a total of 4 miles, out and back, with the turn around point being the horse stables that we would eventually reach. The group headed out all together, but thinned out into groups of different paces as the run progressed. Some of the run was over loose gravel which was a little bit of rough footing, and Mike and I complained to each other about our sore legs. We kept trudging forward though, dealing with the humidity as best we could. 

Once we hit the stables we turned around, glad to be away from the smell of horses. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t spot any horses as we ran by though. On the trip back to the shop it started drizzling a little, and we were both relieved when the run was over - why had four miles felt so hard!?

But, our work was rewarded with food and drink. I went for a steakhouse meatball slider with gravy and Mike got a Greek lamb meatball slider. To drink, Mike got a beer, and I got a rosè angry orchard, since that was the cider that had on tap. We chatted with other local runners as we enjoyed our drinks. It was nice to meet other members of the running community, and I hope to participate in more of these events in the future. 

Guys, I really intended to run on Wednesday, but the day just got away from me. It was thunder storming when I woke up, and I just could not talk myself into getting on the treadmill that morning. So instead I worked on prepping for vacation, and figured that I would slip in a few miles after work. But after a full day on my feet - I had been working on machining a new fixture at work, which is its own kind of exhausting for the last week or so, that needs to be done before we leave on vacation - I was pooped. I had an appointment to get my nails done with Mom after work, and then we were going to visit a family member in the hospital after. So, as bedtime approached on Wednesday I realized that I had failed to prioritize getting in my run, which occasionally happens. But honestly, the things that I got done felt more important. 

Plus, I was locked in to running Thursday morning - Kasey was finally returning to morning running with me! She had been on summer break from school after completing her bachelors degree in the spring, and was starting Law School this week! Can you tell that I’m proud of my smarty pants cousin??

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Kasey and I agreed to leave for our runs around 6:30, and we would run towards each other and meet somewhere in the middle. Dad was originally going to bike along with us, but decided to head to the beach later in the day instead. 

I was glad that Kasey agreed to meet me, since my motivation was lacking. But I laced up and got outside, and found her a mile into my run. This was a momentus morning, as it was the first time that we were running together since she started law school! Chatting was minimal, but that was largely my fault, as I was feeling so exhausted. But I trudged along, getting in a total of five miles. It wasn’t a lot, but it was something. I couldn’t believe how exhausted I was this week, but I suppose I had been very busy in my life outside of marathon training. 

Thursday night was a whirlwind of heading out to dinner with his family to celebrate his moms birthday, and then it was full frenzied packing. I had packed most of my clothes, but really nothing beyond that. So I ran around like a crazy person after dinner, packing and running up to the shops to pick up last minute necessities. By the time I was all packed and ready to go, it was after midnight. We had an 8 am flight the next morning, and it was out a Newark, which meant it would be a bit of a hike getting there, so we had a pre-5 am wake up time. 

When I wore up on Friday I was groggy all the way down to my bones, but I was glad that we were finally heading on this trip- we had been planning it for over two years! 

The only other running that I did this week? The seawheeze half marathon! I missed my half PR by 18 seconds, but had a great time. Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks for a race recap video of my experience at the expo and running the half. 

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 11

After babysitting on Sunday night, I had gotten to bed much later than usual, so when Monday morning came around I had no intention of getting up and running. The weekend had been pretty non-stop, so I wasn’t too concerned about taking a rest day to start the week. My rest days have been pretty fluid lately, not on a set day, but I usually take 1-2 a week. And this week, Monday just felt like the right time.

I texted Mike on Monday night to see if he would be up for a track day on Tuesday morning, and he was on board. Dad agreed to join as well, and Tuesday morning we all met at the track. Dad walked laps while Mike and I warmed up together, but the meat of our workouts were going to be different today. Mike was planning to get in a few maintenance miles, while I needed to get speedwork done. It was going to be a high-mileage week if everything went according to plan, and I was excited to get moving.

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Once again, I had three mile repeats to do, with a goal pace of 7:30. Since I am following the Hanson’s marathon method, this would be my last “speed” workout, as after this week track days switch to being “strength” days, and the repeats get longer but the paces get slower. Since I have done this workout a few times lately, I knew it would be hard, but I also knew I was capable. When I took off for the first repeat Mike ran along for about a lap, and then I was on my own. The first repeat clocked in at 7:36, which I was happy with. I was even happier though when it was time for some recovery, and guzzled some water down. Two more repeats, which came in at 7:30 and 7:33, and then the hard stuff was behind me. I said goodbye to Mike, and Dad biked along as I ran back to the apartment.

That night Sophie and I headed in the gym to get in some strength training, since I know that with the traveling that I have coming up soon it will fall off of my list of priorities for a few weeks. We spent about an hour lifting, focusing on arms and core strength.

I toyed around with my schedule for the rest of the week, debating if I wanted to get my tempo run in on Wednesday or Thursday, knowing that I was planning on doing a long run on Saturday rather than Sunday. Ultimately it was raining when I woke up on Wednesday, so I thought maybe I could run after work, but alas- thunderstorms. So Mike and I once again made plans to meet up at the track on Thursday morning - it’s definitely gotten me through many training miles this time around. As usual, my run to the track was my warmup, and I picked up the pace once I started laps. Mike got there a moment before me, and was nice enough to bring me a water bottle, since I had ran to the track, but he drove. 

We dropped the pace down into the high 8 range, trying to stay between 8:35-8:50. Mike ran the first three miles with me before heading home, and I had another 4 to get through solo. I stopped every mile and a half or so to take in some water, and as I got into the later miles I had to talk myself out of stopping more frequently. The last mile was by far the hardest, and I was so relieved when it was through. Then it was only a cooldown as I ran home, and the tempo run was done. Ten miles total, 7 of those at tempo pace. I had struggled so much with that 7th mile, and was disheartened when I realized I should have done 8 that day. I was disappointed when I realized I messed up the duration, but at least I had gotten some sort of tempo run in for the week. 

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Plus, I was relieved on Friday morning when I woke up and only had to do an easy run, after the previous two runs being quality work. 

I started my run heading towards my parents house, and Dad met up with me along the way on his bike we rad by the pool, weaved around the town, and slowly passed away the miles. I learned during this run that my arm had apparently chafed during my run the day before, and it definitely lead to some strange arm positions, which Dad found highly amusing. Eventually we got back to my parents house, and Dad ended his bike ride, but I opted to run back to the apartment solo to amass a total of 6 miles.

That night I started to pack for my upcoming trip to Vancouver and Alaska, since I don’t have the ability to do laundry in my apartment. Even though I had a week left before the trip would start, I wanted to make sure all of the clothes that I wanted to bring along were clean.

Another reason for keeping things light on Friday night was my plan for Saturday morning: a 16 mile long run. Since I would be out of town for two weekends I wanted to get in a good, long run before I left. Dad and Mom agreed to bike along with my run, and the three of us headed to our usual spot - the Jones Beach boardwalk. We got out around 8 A.M., and the weather was warm, but not scorching. There was even a nice breeze. My goal for this run was to keep an average pace between 9-9:20. At first the paces were coming easy, and I had to remind myself to slow down so that I wouldn’t burn out early in the run. I switched off between chatting with my parents and listening to music, and things felt good until around mile 13, when the pace started to become a bit of a struggle. I had some time banked from faster, earlier, miles, so I didn’t stress to much, and just tried to keep pushing myself. I had managed to make it to fourteen miles without any stops at all, and was hopeful that I would make it non-stop to mile 16 - but then I went to take a sip of water and somehow managed to choke on it a little bit, and had to stop and sputter after the mishap. Whoops. At least I managed to pause my Garmin.

Miles 15 an 16 went off without any other eventful mishaps, and I even managed to speed up a little bit. The one mistake - well, we were about a mile from the car at mile 16. I had some level of awareness that this would happen, but was okay with getting an extra mile in. I did drop the pace down to a cool down though, and just kept moving forward. The car was parked right near one of the food courts on the boardwalk, so when I finished up the 17th mile I headed in, really hoping they would have an Icee and a pretzel - but alas, they did not, so I settled for some Dippin-dots, and they were basically the greatest thing ever. Even with the slower last mile averaged in, I still managed a 9:16 pace for the long run, and I was really pleased with that.

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The spirit of long runs would continue on Sunday, as my schedule told me to run 10 easy, and 10 was the distance that Mike needed to get done for his long run! Since he was heading to a board game expo that day, we opted to stay local, running around where we live rather than heading somewhere more scenic. Mike ran to my apartment from his house, starting two miles ahead of me, and we started our loops. We stopped for fuel at the apartment one time, and for water at my parents, before heading towards Mike’s house - the miles always fly by when we get to run together. I ran home and my watch buzzed indicating I had hit 10 miles - meaning a total of 27 for the weekend, and just over 50 for a week.

I was tired, but felt great, after a solid week of training. The next two weeks would be lower mileage, the first so that I would be ready to race the seawheeze half, and the second because I would be cruising to Alaska, but I felt really confident in all of the work I had put in so far.

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 10

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Wow guys, let me start by saying this: I am so sorry I have fallen behind with posts lately! I have been traveling on top of marathon training, and while I have been writing, it takes time to get everything together into a post. So without further delay, week 10.

Ah, Monday morning - the biggest struggle bus of the week. After a weekend full of miles, the clock reset, and it was time to start the weekly mileage count once more. I was sleepy, but Dad was meeting me on his bike, so there was no excuse to skip this run. I got up, put on the gear I had selected the night before, and laced up my shoes. Temps were in the low 70’s, but the humidity was still in full force. Dad and I chatted as we weaved through the streets, and I may have thrown out the idea of a Disney trip around Christmas time - what can I say, I want to get full use of my annual pass before it expires. Six miles at a recovery pace completed before it was time to head to work.

Track Tuesday was my next interaction with running for the week, and my training plan called for 800m repeats at the track. This time I doubled up on accountability buddies, and Dad and Mike both agreed to meet me at the track. Dad found me while I was running to the track as a means of my warm up miles, and Mike was putting down his water bottle as we reached the track. Mike and I ran two laps together, but then it was time for me to pick up the pace. I had to do 6 repeats total, and I pushed a reasonable amount to get myself moving for the first one, and came in a little fast. It was also very quickly made clear that the humidity that morning was going to make it into the kind of run that required me to join the sports bra squad.

The first three repeats went better than the later three - as the sun crawled into the sky the temps went up, and the humidity got harder to handle. But I kept pushing, and gave the repeats what I had, even if they were a little slower than I would have preferred. But at least I made it through 6 sets of repeats, at a hard effort. I was relieved to hit the cool down portion of the run, and really took my time running home.

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I have been trying to pair hard run days with strength training, to keep my hard days hard and my easy days easy, and on Tuesday night I headed to planet fitness with Sophie to pick some stuff up and then put it back down. Since I had another workout day ahead of me on Thursday, we stuck to arms and core to avoid lingering sore legs.

On Wednesday I took a rest day, but I made up for it Thursday, with a double workout. First up, a tempo run, which the weather forced onto the treadmill. I actually didn’t mind it as much as I expected to, as chugged along while watching Veronica Mars on my phone. I managed to not stop the treadmill at all for the duration of the run, and eventually Sophie got to the gym and hopped on a near by treadmill for a few miles. When we were both finished, we did the kind of strength training that I love to hate: Leg day.

of course, by the time the next morning rolled round I was a little bitter about leg day, for as necessary as they are they sure make running harder! I managed to drag myself out of bed, and Dad met me on his bike for a local run. We totaled 6 miles for the morning, at a good recovery pace.

I like to have at least one day a week that I get to “sleep in,” and on Saturday morning I had scheduled a yoga class with Mike at 9:15, and the idea of getting up at 6 am to do my long run didn’t feel super appealing. I was signed up for a race on Sunday,

So, I slept in until it was time for yoga, and we had a good time at emerge. It was a special “picture day” class, where they were shooting promotional photos for the studio, so we had a rotation of 5 different teachers throughout the class. It was interesting, because it meant getting to sample all different class styles. One of the instructors killed my core in her 15 minute slot, and I made a mental note to check out her class in the future. 

By the time the class was over I was hungry, so I grabbed some lunch and procrastinated my run for a while. Eventually it was time to get on the treadmill though, so I queued up some Veronica Mars, my current binge watch show, locked the cats away in the bedroom, and got moving. My quads were feeling dead after all of the miles that I put in this week, so I took the first two miles a little but easy. When I realized the soreness wasn’t going to subside, I cranked the treadmill up to the pace I wanted to be running this long run at, because if it was going to be hard it may as well be at the pace I wanted. 

The miles slipped away, as one episode played into another. I took a quick break to re-fill my water bottle and check on the cats, who were happily soaking up sunshine, at the halfway point, and a quick potty break at mile 9. The breaks added up to a little more time than I would have preferred, but I’m bad at holding myself accountable when I’m at home on the treadmill- that’s why I often still head to the gym for indoor runs. 

Once 12 miles were complete, my average moving pace came in at a 9:04, which I was really happy with. That’s right around my goal pace for Chicago, but I need to stop taking breaks when I’m on a treadmill, or maybe stop relying on the treadmill, since I don’t take breaks like that when I run outside. 

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I headed into the Bronx with my family after the run, for pasta night at the bungalow. As always, the view from the dock of the Whitestone bridge was a treat. 

Sunday my 9th Road Runners race of the year was on the docket - the Manhattan 7 miler, with Mike and Sophie. I had driven to the last few races, so Mike agreed to cart us into the city. He picked Sophie and I up bright and early, and we headed into the city. Since the race was on a Sunday we didn’t need to pre-book parking, as many of the streets near central park have metered parking that don’t charge on Sundays, so it is usually easier to snag a spot. Our gamble paid off, and we found a spot quickly enough. We walked into the park and headed for race day central. Mike and I headed towards the porter potties, as we were running a little short on time, and Sophie went to the NYRR tent to pick up all of our bibs. By the time we had made it through the porter potty line, the race was about to start. I pinned my bib to my shirt as we walked to the starting corrals, and by the time we got to them they had already collapsed, so we hopped in with corral J as they shuffled forward. Sophie was less than excited to be running seven miles, but we didn’t have too long to dwell on it before crossing the start line.

It was warm out, but at least it wasn’t over 100 this weekend, like the other ones this summer. We didn’t have any pace goals, and just planned to stick together through the seven miles.

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We managed to navigate the crowd that happens at the beginning of any race and stay together, and over the first few miles I had to tell Sophie and Mike to slow the pace more than once - I wanted to keep us at a pace that was maintainable for everyone, so that there wouldn’t be any crashing over the last mile or two. I figured we could always pick up the pace later if we wanted to, and knew that there were many hills ahead.

This race even had the dreaded Harlem hill, which we have avoided for most of the road runners races we had done this year. When we finally approached the hill we dialed the pace back a little, but managed to get through it without needing a walk break. Once we hit the downhill I knew we only had to get through the three sisters before the finish line, so I didn’t worry about regulating the pace as much. Sophie started pulling ahead of Mike and I, but was usually still within view.

When we finally spotted the finish line we were all relieved to be done running, but were a little disappointed that there were no finishers medals for this race - it is a part of the five borough series, and the other races in the series all had medals, so it would have been nice to have a complete set at the end of the year. But, we did get the standard bagels and even an ice pop, which was nice and refreshing.

My total mileage rang in at 48 miles even, which I was really happy with. Seems like I have officially hit those high mileage weeks that come with marathon training.

Race Recap: Jamesport Triathlon

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Well people, it’s the end of an era, the end of my favorite hashtag. If you follow my on Instagram you may have noticed that any time I bike or swim or do an activity with the Merrick Bicycles Tri Team, I tag my photos with #StillNotDoingATri.

But after three years of training with the team and not doing a tri, I did the thing: My first triathlon.

I was nervous leading up to the big day, but I knew that I had gotten in plenty of laps at the pool, a handful of open water swims, many winter miles on the trainer, and a few session outside in the real world on my bike, clip in pedals and all. Plus, I had the support of the Tri team, plus Dennis, PG and Jennie who had driven all the way out to Jamesport to cheer me on.

I packed up my car the night before the race so that no thought would be required when it was time for a very early wakeup the next morning, and tried to get to bed early, despite some nerves trying to keep me awake. When my alarm went off the next morning Den and I piled into the car, and started the hour-ish long drive towards Jamesport. We were treated to a beautiful sunrise as we made our way there. The drive felt like it took much longer than an hour, but eventually we pulled into the beach side parking lot, and started unloading the piles of supplies that I had brought with me.

When we unloaded the bike from the car we made some last minute adjustments, which mainly consisted of pumping up my bike tires once again. We made our way over to the transition area, where Merrick had their own team bike rack. I found my name on the bike rack, and started by hanging up my bike. I had brought my wet suit along in a 5-gallon home depot bucket, so I set that up at the end of my area, so I could quickly dump my wet suit after the swim portion of the race. I laid out my two sets of shoes on a towel, leaving part of the towel un-burduned so that I could dry off my feet.

I passed my cell phone and go-pro off to Dennis, and followed Jackie and Nicole towards the water so I could warm up in the water before the race. If I had learned anything from previous open water swims, was that I am more comfortable if I have a few minutes to adjust to the water. I took my time getting on my wetsuit, since I had just repaired some tears in it earlier that week, making sure I was comfortable with how it was sitting. Then I waddled over to the water, and flopped around for a few minutes. I felt the low key panic that often comes with open water swims for me, and hoped that feeling it before the race meant that I would be fine once things got moving with the actual race.

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Soon the announcer was giving a warning for the first age group to line up at the start, so it was time to vacate the water. The wave start was broken up by age and gender, from youngest to oldest. I was in the second wave overall, the first female group. Once the first group of guys had taken off I lined up with many of my team mates, who I knew would speed by once we hit the water, and tried to calm my nerves. I could do this. It would be hard, but I was capable.

The announcer counted down, and off we went. A run across the sand and into the water, wading until it was deep enough to get a stroke in. I stuck to the back of the group, not wanting to get swam over or kicked in the face. Once I was far enough into the water, I started swimming, counting my breaths between strokes, and trying to stay calm. There were plenty of swimmers, life guards, and buoys around me, but I was still panicking a little. It felt like the swim was taking forever from the start, even though the total elapsed time was less than 15 minutes for the 500 yd swim. Eventually I reached the buoy that marked the turn around point, and took a second to swap to backstroke to collect myself. As I started swimming back to the shore, the I was hot in the wetsuit. I felt almost constricted as I kept swimming, half wishing I hadn’t worn it. As the water got shallower, I tapped my feet to the sand to calm myself down. This was tough, but I could do it. With one of those taps I felt a sharp pain in my foot and recoiled - I must have stepped on the shell.

When I got to a shallow enough point in the water, I decided to try the latest tip I had read regarding wetsuits - take it off before you get out of the water. Every time i have to take off my wetsuit I struggled with it, so I figured I may as well give it a go. Worst case I would be flopping on the sand in front of spectators trying to take it off, rather than waiting until the transition area and trying to get it off there. But my gamble paid off, and the wetsuit came off easier than ever! I was all smiles as I left the water, and started the run over to the transition area, where I would move on to the bike portion of the race. It was a long run over to the bikes, across a parking lot and passed a glimpse of the finish line. I even spotted Jennie cheering with her fiance PG as I ran by.

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I dropped my wetsuit into the bucket that I had brought along, and plopped down onto the towel that I had setup and tried to dry off my feet a little bit before putting on my ProCompression lows - I had wanted to wear the over-the-calf socks, but there was a ankle timing chip, and I wasn’t sure how the socks would fit with it.There were still plenty of bikes in the transition area, as I was in one of the earlier waves, but more people were coming in by the second. Once I was dry enough to get socks on I slipped into my bike shoes, threw on my helmet, and attempted to get my garmin swapped over to bike mode. I also slipped on my apple watch, so that Dad could track my progress from home. As soon as I crossed the line that indicated where we were allowed to hop on our bikes I got myself clipped in, and focused on getting moving. Mentally I tried to spot bikers that were just a little ahead of me, and reeling them in. There was one biker that I yo-yoed back and fourth with for the first 2/3 of the bike, and we even engaged in conversation from time to time, pushing each other to keep going. I felt stronger than I had expected to, and was riding faster than I had on any of my training runs. Plenty of faster bikers were passing me, but I still felt strong. I even managed to drink some water while riding, and spent most of the 16 mile bike ride in aero position, which my wrists very much appreciated. I tried to give all I could on the bike portion, knowing that my body would know what to do when it got to the run portion, that is my strong suit, and I wasn’t worried about saving energy for it. There were some hills at the end of the course, and I pushed myself to leave it all on the table as I biked up them, and to accept the speed that came with the downhill.

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As I rode towards the transition area, I slowed down coming into the final turn. I could feel that there was another biker right behind me, and was worried about getting in his way, but he called out in support letting me know that he wasn’t going to cut around, and even shouting some encouragement. I felt, as always, so supported by this community. I also spotted Dennis with PG and Jennie, and was so happy to see my people. I swapped My shoes, clipped on my SPI belt, which had my race bib attached to it, and headed for the last leg of my journey - the run. I had trouble getting my Garmin started again - the race brain was in full effect at this point.

The course took us back towards the water, before looping out to the neighborhood that surrounded the beach. I spotted the Merrick Bicycles Tri Team cheer squad, and got entirely caught up in their energy as I ran by. While my watch was working now, I wasn’t looking at my pace, I was just putting one foot in front of the other. My legs were a little heavy but I felt good. I was reminded that running is my strong sport, as I started passing other runners on the course. Familiar faces who had zipped by me on the bike I was now catching up with, and hardly being passed myself. When my watch buzzed to indicate that I had finished the first mile of the 5k course, I saw that I was somehow pulling off a sub 8 minute mile. I was a little shocked, but I just kept pushing onward. There were only 2.1 miles left between me and the finish line. The first section of the course was an out and back, and I was relieved when i reached the turn around. There were water stations along the side during mile two, and I made sure to grab some water, as I could feel how salty I was. I had thrown some skratch gummies into my running belt, and made sure to take a few with the water.

I kept pushing, and cheering on my team mates every time I spotted a Merrick Bicycles jersey. We turned off of the main road we had been on and to some side roads, where there was a little more shade, which was a relief. The pace was hard, but I could handle it. The finish line was fast approaching. As I ran by the transition area bike entrance I spotted the Tri team on one side, still cheering at the top of their lungs, and Jennie on the other side, cheering me on with the biggest smile plastered across her face. Then there was one final turn to the course, and it would be over.

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Finally, the finish line was in sight. I mustered the last bit of strength I had, and pushed forward. 1:42:09 - I was proud. Honestly, I don’t know enough about triathlons to be able to gauge if that is considered “fast” or “slow” or anything in the middle for a sprint tri, but I didn’t care in the lease - it was MY finish time. I had finished, and I was officially a triathlete. Only took three years after joining the tri team. I collected my medal and was handed a water, and Den was waiting for me at the end of the finishers chute. He was trying to talk to me, but I really couldn’t process anything. My brain was fried, and I just needed a minute to talk in circles to collect myself. Eventually my heart rate came down, and I began to return to “normal human” status. I grabbed some watermelon, and Den walked with me back over to the transition area, so I could start packing up my gear. I also changed into some dry clothes, and Den was nice enough to cart all of my stuff back to the car, which I took some time to stretch.

The Tri Team had a tent set up in a field near by, with BBQ supplies that we had all brought along. I spent some time unwinding with the team, and stayed for the award ceremony - our coach, Jackie, had WON the race in the women’s division. Like, overall first woman. She seriously amazes me, and inspires me to always reach for goals that feel impossible.

Den and I headed home, both pooped from a early morning, and me from a long race. All in all, it was an awesome, but difficult experience. I was really proud of myself for putting myself out there though. When we finally got home I stepped out of the car, and was greeted with a shooting pain in my foot - remember the shell I mentioned earlier? It had apparently lodged itself into my foot, and was now VERY unhappy. I was okay all in all, and once I removed the surprisingly tiny shell fragment, the swelling in my foot went down. I did an epsom salt bath with hot water just to be safe, and took it easy for the rest of the day.

In the days following the race I was totally wiped out, and much sorer than I had expected to be after the race - but I suppose that comes with the territory of your first triathlon.

Week 9: Chicago Marathon Training

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After the scorching heat that we had all weekend, I was relieved when I checked the weather app from bed on Monday morning and saw that the temps were in the 70s- way more manageable than the 100+ degree weather that had driven me to the treadmill for my long run. I dragged myself out of bed and looked at the training schedule that I have hanging on the fridge. I knew I needed to run, but I had no idea how far I needed to go - 6 miles. Not too shabby. I wanted to roll back into bed, but went through the motions of getting ready to run, knowing that once my sneakers were on I would get out the front door. 

I was greeted with a particularly rude wave of humidity- yeah, the temps were lower, but the humidity still made it feel like I was breathing through a straw. My body was slow to adapt to the motion of running, so I took it one mile at a time, always having to talk myself into the next mile. First I ran to the track, a mile and a half. If I went home from there, it would at least be three miles. I may as well run towards my parents house, so I could grab some water. Another 1.5 miles, three total. Already half way done. If I went straight home I could get 2 more miles in, so with a little zig zagging it could easily be turned into three. When I got to the vicinity of my apartment I still needed a half mile. I considered skipping it, but knew I would feel more accomplished about the run if I did the full distance. So one extra loop around the complex, my watch buzzed at the 6 mile mark, at the very humid run came to an end at last. 

Tuesday morning rolled around, and I just did not get out of bed early enough to get to the track, and have time for my full workout. So instead I opted for some mobility work, following a few routines that Nike Training Club offers. That night I was headed to the track anyway, to host another track night for MBTT, and I figured if I headed there right from work I would have time to get my workout in before hand. 

Of course, time was not on my side, and I got stuck at work late. I hardly had time to change and get out the door to get to the track on time. I explained the workout that Coach Jackie had set for the group, and guided them through it as they completed there laps- I may have even told Sophie and Mike to slow down a few times. 

It was raining by the time they all finished, so I headed home instead of running after the practice- there was a lacrosse game going on there anyway. 

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When I got home I toyed with the idea of just getting my workout done on the treadmill. I was feeling inspired after seeing everyone put in work at the track, and eventually I talked myself into it. I figured worst case I would get a few easy miles in. 

I set up my iPad for entertainment, and got started. The workout was mile repeats- three of them at a 7:30 pace. I did a mile and a half warm-up, and then hit the speed I needed on the treadmill. Slowly counting down from 120 as I went, willing the distance to tick to a mile before I ran out of numbers. I managed to hang on to the pace! A 600m recovery, and it was time for round two. Somehow being successful the first time around gave me the motivation I needed it, and I started counting down again, this time from a slightly higher number. But I made it though the whole mile without stopping, and felt good. I walked the beginning of the recovery phase, and it was hard to start running again. But I only had to do one more repeat, and then I could call the workout successful. I buckled in, got moving, and knocked out the last repeat and glided into the cooldown. Three mile repeats complete, and Den had cooked some dinner while I ran, so I got to immediately chow down when I was done. 

Wednesday was my rest day, so I got to sleep in. But after work I headed over to the pool to get in a few laps, and then headed over to Sophie’s to get in a core workout and watch some TV together. It took longer than anticipated to get through the core workout, as my stomach was NOT cooperating, but I did what I could and hoped I would be okay when I tried to run my tempo run the next morning. 

I texted Mike on Wednesday night to see if he would be willing to meet me at the track Thursday morning, so that I would have someone to keep me accountable. He agreed, and the next morning I was up and out the door bright and early, so that I would have time to run to and from the track, where I planned on getting my run in. It was about a mile and a half to the track, and I got in the beginning of my workout before Mike arrived. I had aimed to get there a little before him, that way he would join me for the middle of my harder- paced miles. I had to get 7 done, so it was going to be a long workout. 

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When Mike arrived he hopped right in with me, and was nice enough to keep pace with me as we tried to talk at each other. I say tried, because it was HARD to hold a normal conversation at those paces, at least for me. But he hung on to those paces for three miles, which was how long he needed to get in that morning. We paused for a quick selfie, and then I was back to running laps as Mike headed home. 

It was warm out, but the miles had come without too much struggle at first. As I got further into the workout though, it became more of a struggle, with mile 7 making me really want to quit. I had to stop for a water break half way through, but then I pushed through and finished the hard miles, and got to slow down and get in my cooldown as I ran home. 

I was pooped after work on Thursday, but had made plans to meet Sophie at the gym. I really wanted to bail, but had made a commitment, and needed to be doing a better job with strength training anyway. We were planning on a “leg” day, and proceeded to do approximately a million different squat variations, which rendered our legs dead for the several following days. 

Those dead legs kept me in bed, the next morning, but I had time to get in a few miles Friday night, so it wasn’t too much of an issue. When I got home from work I laced up, and Dennis even agreed to come out for a short portion of my run- something that hasn’t happened since 2016. He did one loop of the neighborhood with me, about a mile, and then I went on to do another 5 solo. I kept an easy pace and listened to some music, enjoying getting miles under foot. Mom and Dad snuck up on me in the car while I was running near their house - the magic of find your friends - and passed me some water, which was very appreciated.

While I was out running Mike texted me asking if we would like to come over for a BBQ that night, and it was the perfect treat after my run. It was nice night of grilled chicken and fun conversation with friends. I was bummed when Den and I had to head out early, since I had to head to the airport to pick up my cousin Jen, who was visiting from Atlanta that weekend. 

I picked up Sophie and the two of us headed to the airport to pick up Jen, and then went back to the apartment for a sleepover and second dinner, which consisted of fondue and wine. It was a great Friday night. 

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Jen was coming into town for her bridal shower, and I knew the date before I set up my training plan for Chicago, so I made sure to give myself an off day that Saturday. Instead of miles we had mimosas, plus pedicures. The bridal shower was lovely, and I made up for the off day on Sunday, when I had a 15 mile run planned. 

Mike also needed to get his long run in, so we coordinated and agreed to meet at massapequa preserve. We had our bike support team with us too, as my Dad and Mom both came along to ride with us. Mike only needed to do 9 miles, so the plan was to do an out an back together, and then I would head out once more to finish up my miles. Mike and I settled into a conversational pace, and moved along the path. There were a lot of people out on the path, as it was a nice day out. I may have been a little ambitious with the pace when we first got moving, as I tuckered Mike out quicker than usual. When I saw this was happening I dialed back the pace, and made sure that we were taking water breaks often enough. We were almost at the half way point when this happened, so we just had to head back to the car, and his miles would be complete.

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Heading back we opted to change up the route, heading into the wooded area of the trail, rather than the paved area that we had tun on initially. It was a bit cooler in the shade of the trees, although there was some mud as we ran through the area, and there was more than one tight spot when people had their Dogs off leash and we had to get by. A few times I ran ahead to get in some strides and then doubled back to find the group, and each time I would find Dad biking up to catch me, as Mom was not a fan of me going ahead alone. Eventually we made it back to the cars, and had logged 10 miles together. I had planned to turn around and finish up my last five miles right away, but my body had other ideas. I had a bathroom need, and with no bathroom near that area of the trail, I opted to head home and use the bathroom there before heading out for the last five miles. Not ideal, but at least I would be able to get them done without being uncomfortable.

It was much hotter running near my parent’s house than it had been on the trail, as the path had a lot more shade. My legs were unhappy with me for stopping when I first started moving again, but eventually I settled back into the flow of things and knocked the miles out, despite the warm weather. It was less perfect, but my 15 miles were complete, and Mom had even gotten lunch while I finished my run.

As always, I was thankful for the community that I have that supports me, and hope that they all feel just as supported in return. It was a week full of hard work, in the best possible way.

Race Recap: NYRR Retro Run

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Well internet, I did it again – I neglected to consult my calender when signing up for races, and got myself into another two-race weekend, this time with a particularly early morning. My weekend of racing started with another “weekly” race with the New York Road runners, the 4-mile Retro Run.

This particular road runners event has been on my “to do” list for the last two years, as I love an excuse to dress up for a race. I had signed up for it in 2017 but then had a family obligation, and was similarly out of town for the 2018 rendition of the event. But this year I was finally able to don the vintage 1987 road runners event shirt that Dad had surprised me with in 2017, before we realized I wouldn’t be able to participate.

The morning started with a 5:50 alarm, and by 6:15 one of my teammates from the Merrick Bicycles Tri Team, Michal, had arrived at my apartment. Her, Mike and I were car pooling to the city, and we hopped into my car and headed to pick up Mike. The weather was nice for July running, with temps in the 70’s and a slightly overcast sky. I managed to navigate us to the city without any tolls, which sounds simple, and ultimately is simple, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t messed it up in the past. I again opted to pre-purchase parking through the spot hero app, and got a garage spot on 67th street, just outside of central park. When participating in Road Runner events it is easy to find street parking if the event occurs on a Sunday, as parking regulations are more relaxed, but on Saturdays there are more rules, and street parking can be hard to come by. The $20 charge that the three of us split was worth not feeling rushed before the race.

We all needed to pick up our bibs, so we headed to race day central to grab them. After a quick scan of our QR codes, we were good to go. We found Carson near bib pickup, and she joined our group of runners. As a chronic over-packer, I of course had a bag I wanted to check, so our next stop was the drop-off location. On the way there we ran into another MBTT teammate, and stopped for a quick pre-race selfie. The final start before it was time to run? The porter potties, of course!

We climbed into the corrals just before 8 am, when the race was scheduled to begin. I wasn’t planning on racing, so I dropped back so that I could run with everyone else. As we waited in the corrals we sang along to the “retro” tunes that they were pumping into the corrals, really breaking it down to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.” As the corrals ahead of us were released, we shuffled closer to the start line.

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Eventually it was our turn to start running, and this time the four of us managed to stay together through the crowded start. Admittedly, it was a smaller field than the pride run had been, so it was less congested. We pushed the pace a little as we weaved through the crowd, looking for a area big enough for the four of us. Some of the runners that we spotted had great costumes, and we even spotted a few wigs that had us wondering if they were real or not.

When we got to the first mile marker, in lieu of the standard timing clock there was a man on a raised chair yelling out the race clock time – they had really committed to this retro thing! As we approached the north end of the park Mike and I began to wonder aloud if we were going to have to face Harlem hill that day – neither of us had checked the course map. But just before mile two the course turned, avoiding it. Instead, we headed into the rolling hills known as the three sisters, and it was during the third mile of the race that in these hills our group of four split in half to pairs. Carson wasn’t feeling great, and wanted to incorporate some walk breaks, and Mike decided to stay with her as Michal and I kept running. We chatted our way through the final mile, and after crossing the finish line we pulled to the side and asked a volunteer to take our photo. As we posed, Mike and Carson hopped in, having finished just a moment later.

We were happy to have water at the finish line, and accepted our post race bagels and apples from volunteers. Carson was a little run-drunk, and was very concerned that she couldn’t spot any raisins in her cinnamon-raisin bagel, but thankfully they were discovered once she started eating it.

We picked up our event shirts, which were teal and made of a more “retro” looking material than the standard shirt that the road runners gives out. I was a fan of them, as they were soft and the logo looked good on the front of the shirt. There was a band playing, and roller skaters putting on a show near the bandshell, and a vintage good humor truck was giving out popsicles to runners. I went and picked up my checked bag while my friends waited in line. Our last stop before heading home was the photo booth, which was setup in a old Volkswagen van. We climbed into the back of it and posed together, sweaty post-run faces and all. If you’d like to see the video from the race, you it is posted on my youtube page, or you can click the photo of us with the race shirts.

It was a fun event, made better by running it with friends. We hit some traffic going home, but it at least gave Mike some time to try my r-8 recovery roller, or as he called it, the Bear Trap. When I did get home, I spent most of Saturday preparing for Sunday’s event: My first Triathlon.

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Week 8: Chicago marathon Training

I knew after the long day I had on Sunday, there was no way I was getting up on Monday morning- but that was ok, because I scheduled two days of rest after the Jamesport triathlon. Realistically, I thought maybe I would be able to get in some speedwork on Tuesday- how sore could a two hour race really leave me?

One other thing that happened on Monday - I got an awesome package in the mail from ProCompression that included this Ambassador shirt, and these socks!

One other thing that happened on Monday - I got an awesome package in the mail from ProCompression that included this Ambassador shirt, and these socks!

Well, the answer was it could leave me feeling like I was hit my a small car - I was so much sorer than I expected to be on Monday! My limbs were heavy, and there was no way any running was happening. I had agreed to meet up with Jennie at the gym to weight train, and had it not been for Jennie and Sophie committing to going, I probably would have bailed. We stuck to upper body exercises, and finished with some core work. I left the gym feeling energized, but by the time I got home I was even more pooped. I went to bed early, and was very happy to be under the covers. 

I slept in again on Tuesday morning, but by Tuesday night I was itching to get a few miles in, regardless of lingering soreness. So I shot texts to Mike and Sophie, asking if they wanted to meet up after work for a few miles. Sophie and I had to be ready for Mom’s birthday dinner at 7, but I wasn’t trying to get too many miles in. They both agreed to meet up, and when I got home from work I packed a change of clothes and passed them off to Den, so he could bring them when he headed to my parents for dinner. 

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I headed out the door and towards Mike’s house, and he was ready to run. We headed towards my parents house, and ran inside to alert Sophie to our arrival. She groaned at me a little bit for making her come running, but was in better spirits once we got moving. This run marked the first official run of Mike’s NYC marathon training plan, and I was happy I got to share the miles. We chatted as we looped through the neighborhood, and I logged a total of 4.5 miles, which were particularly sweaty. 

It was back to my usual training schedule on Wednesday, and I made sure to get out in the morning for my run, because Wednesday night I was hosting track for the Tri team! Due to conflicting schedules our coach, Jackie, asked if I could help out and run a weekly track night for the summer, and I am so excited that she asked me to help. So, Dad biked over on Wednesday morning and after a slower first mile I settled into the groove of things, and trotted through a big loop, completing a total of five miles with no real pace goal in mind.

After work I headed over to the track, and was excited when people actually started showing up. As much as people had committed to coming out, I was still nervous that other plans would get in the way. I lead the team through some warm up stretches, and then sent them out to run loops of the track to warm up. Jackie had given me the workout for the team, and I wrote it on a white board and explained the plan to everyone. As they ran their loops I shouted encouragement when I could, and guided them through the workout. Everyone did a great job, and I was so happy to be able to support my friends like that! It started to thunderstorm just as everybody finished up their cool-down laps, so we got out of there quickly.

The thunderstorms were supposed to continue through Thursday morning, so I planned to run after work. I had a training at work all day, that lead to more sitting than my hip-flexors prefer. By the time I hot home from work I was having sharp pains in my hip, and decided to play it safe, and save my tempo run for Friday morning, but made sure to spend some time that night stretching and sitting with a heating pad. I had planned to head to yoga with Mike and his husband, Jude, on Thursday night, but got stuck at work late. They headed to the class without me, but we all decided to head to the meatball place, a restaurant on main street, when the class got out. They picked up Dennis and I and we all headed there together, and shared a delicious meal with many laughs shared. The highlight of the meal was the charcuterie board that we all split.

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I got up nice and early Friday morning, ready to get in some faster miles. I had a solo morning on deck, and left the apartment, running towards my parents house so I could use it as a water station. After a two mile warm-up I tried to pick the pace up, but despite my best efforts I wasn’t moving as fast as I was supposed to. When I made my pit stop to grab water at my parents, I chatted with Dad for a minute, who was busy painting the dining room. When I got moving again, I had a sharp pain that in my hip that forced me into a walk break. I was having trouble telling if it was just a tight hip flexor, or a cramp. I tried a few more times to get running, but the pain was just too much. I eventually decided just to walk home, because walking felt fine, and it seemed like a better idea than getting a ride home from my parents and then sitting on my couch. I tried to run one more time as I headed home, but the pain persisted. This was the first time that I ever had to quit a run - I have had to slow paces, maybe cut a mile off, but never have I had to completely throw in the towel. I was super bummed, and a little nervous that this was going to become an on going issue. I tried to force the thoughts into the back of my head, and not stress about it too much.

Friday night my family was having a get together to celebrate some summer birthdays, and it was a nice way to take my mind off of things. We headed to my grandpa’s house for pizza, some drinks, and s’mores, which dad had brought his little camping grill along to make. My cousins and brothers ran around playing volleyball, while Den and I sat around with my parents and aunts and uncles, discussing life, travel plans, and

I spent more time stretching on Friday night, and when I woke up on Saturday morning I took my time getting moving. We had a heat warning, and temps were over 100 degrees in New York, plus the humidity was high. I was opting to run on the treadmill, and was nervous that I would have to quit again. I made sure to stretch and warm up my body before getting on the treadmill, and set it to a pace on the slower side for me. After a mile I paused the treadmill, and stretched out some more, as had been recommended to me. I cautiously kept going after, and felt ok as the miles slipped by. Eventually the count hit 6, and I had successfully completed the miles. I did make sure to wear the brace/wrap that I had previously purchased for the rest of the day, just as a precaution. I didn’t want to get too excited about one good run, since I was still having hip pain any time I was sitting.

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Sunday morning rolled around, and I slept in once more, since I was planning on getting on the treadmill again. They temps were once again high, and I didn’t want to find myself in too much pain to keep running and stuck outside in hot temps. So after a normal amount of procrastination, I locked the cats in the bedroom, put my iPad on the treadmill deck, queued up some Veronica Mars, filled my water bottles, and got moving. Twelve miles was a long time to spend on the treadmill, but it seemed like the better option. Mentally I tried to focus on four miles at a time, which was about as long as it took to get through an episode. I found myself really wanting to take walk brakes, and just feeling generally fatigued. I tried to limit my stops as much as possible, and just tried not to think about how much was left each time I finished a mile. Slowly but surely the mileage climbed, until I at last reached 12 miles. It wasn’t the best long run I had ever done, but at least I got the miles in, and something is always better than nothing.

I ended the week hoping that my hip would continue to improve, so that I could really get back on track with my training. By the end of the week my body was at least less fatigued, but that didn’t do me much good, if my hip was going to start refusing to cooperate.

Chicago marathon week 7

On Sunday afternoon I got a message from Tara, asking if I would be down for a early bike on Monday morning. I normally start my week with a run, but the offer was tempting. I warned her that I would be slow, but she said she didn’t mind, and I agreed to meet her at the park at 6:20 a.m. the next day. 

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I packed up my bike stuff, and got everything into the car, and after a frantic moment when I couldn’t find my Tri shorts, had everything together and ready to go, so when my early alarm clock went off I just had to roll out of bed, get dressed, and be on my way. 

The alarm went off Monday morning, and I was greeted with a dreary day. I hopped in the car and under gray skies headed to cedar creek park, where a few members of the Tri team were waiting for me to get going. Of course, my bike had lost air in one of its tires, so I had to fill it up before we could get on our way. 

The ride itself was uneventful overall. I thought about how much I prefer running, was thankful that Tara had gotten me out on the bike, eventually was unable to keep up with the rest of the team, got rained on a little bit, and cursed at the bike, which was refusing to switch gears properly. When I turned around at 7.5 miles my teammates continued on, going all the way to tobay, and I rode back to the parking lot solo. 

That night I brought my bike to dad to check out- apparently my derailer wasn’t lined up correctly. I’ll add “learn more about bike maintenance” to my to do list I guess. Once that was taken care of I headed home and hopped in the pool, swimming 500 yds in an effort to flush out my sore legs. 

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Monday rolled into Tuesday, and when my alarm went off my body was not having it. I was still recovering from a cold, and every part of me screamed for more rest. So, after checking the weather and making sure the temperature would be tolerable after work, I rolled over and opted to sleep in a little. 

Tuesday night I stopped and picked up my race packet for the Jamesport Triathalon, which would be my first official Tri, and then headed home to get in the miles that I had promised myself. Dennis and I were planning to head to his parents for dinner, and we decided to take alternate transportation over there- he would be biking as I ran. We took the long way out of our neighborhood, and managed to make it a 5 mile trip. Despite the cold I was still dealing with, this run felt great. We chatted a little, and I just let my legs do the work. It felt difficult at times, but I reminded myself that running marathons isn’t easy, and that I needed to get comfortable being uncomfortable. We had one hill and one overpass that were less than stellar, but I managed some sub-9 miles and was pleased with myself. 

My excitement of Tuesday night was short lived though, when I rolled out of bed on Wednesday morning to head to the track. As I was running Tuesday night I had considered backing off the pace a few times, but I felt so good that I just let my body roll with it. Well, when I got to the track it quickly became clear that I could have used a little more rest between runs. 

I had a ladder workout planned, which would start at a 400m repeat, go up to a 1600m repeat, and then come back down. A total of 7 hard steps, and then a run home. While I hit my paces for the first two repeats, the rest just weren’t happening at the paces I wanted. Dad had met me at the track, and thankfully brought along some water in a cooler, which helped on that hot morning. By the time I was on the last repeats I was going slower than I should have been, but was giving it all the gas I had. The cooldown was arguably the hardest part, because by that point I just wanted to be walking. But I trotted along, getting in a total of 7 miles. 


I knew I was in need of some recovery, so on Wednesday night I met up with Den’s sister, Liz, and we headed to yoga together. We picked out a Yin-restorative class, and I was ready for some relaxation. It was as if the teacher was aware of my chronically tight hamstrings, as she propped us up into deep releases. Did I fall asleep during the class? Well..... yeah. But you try to stay awake when you’re feeling that relaxed!

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Thursday morning called for another run, but an easy one this time. I headed out before work, and met up with Dad as I weaved through the neighborhood. My brother Tom was planning to meet us, but we got a text from him moments after his planned start time that it wasn’t happening for him that morning. I was a little bummed, but it enabled me to get my full prescribed distance in within the pace range I wanted, so we just kept looping, slowly shifting away from my parents house and back towards the apartment. My watch buzzed as I hit 8 miles right in front of the complex, with the average pace coming in around 10:40. It was a solid morning run, and I was glad that I wouldn’t feel like I needed to make up miles later. 

The final weekday run was to be a tempo run, and I decided to plan to run after work. I had races planned for both Saturday and Sunday- which meant early mornings all weekend. So, I let myself sleep in more than usual Friday, and after work only procrastinated the run for a solid two hours before getting out the door (I mean, it was hot out! I had to wait for it to cool off a little, right?). 

When I got out the door I debated which path to take. I needed to warm up for about a mile, then the goal was for 6 miles at a pace between 8:30-8:45, followed by a cool down. The thought of picking directions gave me a feeling of major decision fatigue, so I did something unusual for me- I ran towards the track, even though I wasn’t doing speed work. I figured it was a good central point between the apartment and my parents house, so if I decided I needed water I could run either way, and it just felt like an easy choice. 

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By the time I got to the track I was up to a mile and a half, and my second miles pace was tracking in the high 8-minute-mile range, so I decided to start see if I could bring the pace down a little and count the second mile towards the tempo miles. My efforts paid off, and the second mile rang in at 8:37. A good start, I told myself. I listed to music as I ran laps around the track, one mile flowing into another. I kicked a soccer ball back to the group playing in the middle of the field a few times, ran into Mike’s brother, who was also running some laps, and found a really great groove, where I just felt good. I did wish that I had brought some water, but I managed without. At 9:00 on the dot the lights shut down at the track, just as I was midway through the lap that would finish my 6th tempo mile. I panicked for half a second, as the teenage boys that had been hanging out hooted and hollered into the darkness. I called dad on the phone to have some company and reassurance as I left the area, and got on the road to run back to my apartment. I took the long way, that was I would have a two mile cooldown. 

When I reached the apartment I immediately chugged a bottle of water, and then sat outside as I sipped a second. I had run 9 miles at an average pace of 8:57, with the tempo miles coming in at 8:37, 8:27, 8:30, 8:36, 8:39 and 8:41. I was super pleased with myself, and glad that I had eventually got my butt off the couch to get the work done.

The weekend was full of races- which will have their own reports up soon! To give you a little preview, on Saturday I completed the Retro Run 4-miler with the New York road runners, and on Sunday I did something I swore I wouldn’t do: I completed my first Triathlon, at the Jamesport sprint distance Tri. 



Race Recap: 2019 NYRR Pride Run

Another weekend, another race. This time the New York Road Runners Front runners of NY Pride run - If that’s not a mouthful, I’m not sure what is. This race would bring me one step closer to my 9+1 qualification for next year’s NYC marathon, and was sure to be full of LOVE! This would be my second time running this event, and we were slated for sunny skies.

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When we registered for this race, I had Kasey, Mike, Sophie, and Sophie’s sister Janna planning to run with me. We all signed up, but only three of us made it to the start line. Mike wound up having a wedding in Connecticut that night, and the timing just wasn’t working out, and Kasey got put on the schedule for work. A bummer for sure on both fronts, but I was glad to at least have some good company as I headed into the city on race morning.

I picked up Sophie and Janna from my parent’s house, and they were in full rainbow mode and ready to run. I had opted for a neon pink shirt and neon ProCompression socks, as I just didn’t have anything rainbow that I really felt did the event justice.

I had decided to pre-purchase parking via the spot hero app, since every other time that we had headed into the city for a Saturday race this year we had wound up looping the streets surrounding central park looking for parking for so long that we had to kick one person out of the car to get the bibs which the other paid for a garage - and they’re expensive! Paying for parking day of in the city has cost us around $55, where as the spot hero app got me parking for $22 - a bargain in my opinion. We easily dropped the car off just a block outside of central park, and had a quick walk to bib pickup.

Once we had our bibs we moved over to bag check, and I sorted through the crap that I wanted to have with me, vs. the stuff I could leave behind. I had intended to run with my GoPro for this event, and carried it with me, but shortly after bag check discovered that the battery was dead. Once my stuff was dropped off we headed towards the corrals, with a quick stop at the porter potties along the way.

It was a big race, as NYRR was trying to set a world record for the largest charity pride run. They would have to net the most finishers, so there were over 10,000 runners in the field - much larger than the standard NYRR weekly race! We headed to the back of the corrals, as this was Janna’s first NYRR event, so she did not have a proper time-based corral placement yet. Shortly after we got to the corral, Carson spotted us as we waited to get moving, and joined us in the corrals. It was a long walk to the start, as they were releasing runners in waves that day.

When we did make it to the start, it was so crowded that I managed to loose sight of Sophie and Janna. I saw them right behind me, and Sophie waved me on. I planned to stay with them, but the next time I turned to check for them they were out of sight. So, Carson and I moved forward, figuring that we would find them by the finish line. We chatted as we made our way through the first mile, which brought us up Cat hill. Near the hill one of the members of MBTT spotted me, Michal, and we chatted for a moment until she decided to cut back her pace a little. It’s always fun to spot a familiar face on course.

We missed the first aid station simply because it was crowded, but pulled over to grab water at the second. it was a humid morning, and we needed to make sure to hydrate, even though it was only a 5 mile run. We continued making our way around central park, and as we approached Harlem Hill Carson and I parted ways, as she wanted to take a short walk break. I pressed forward, enjoying the challenge of the hill. I had needed to take a few days off that week, as my calf had been feeling a little strained, but it was feeling great during the race, and I was just happy to be moving. Did the hill suck? Yes. But there I was, running up it anyway, somehow happy about it as sweat dripped into my eyes. Running is emotionally weird, guys.

If you’ve run central park before, you probably know what comes after Harlem Hill - you finally make it to the top, praise the end of the uphill, have a moment of relief, and then head straight for the three sisters. Sigh. More hills. But I was still happy to be out there, happy to feel good running, even pushing the pace a little when I could. I wanted to play it smart with the heat, so I wasn’t going too crazy.

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Once I made it through the ups and downs of the three sisters, it was smooth sailing to the finish line. A flat stretch, lines with spectators decked out in pride gear, cheering on the runners, a final turn, and the finish line chute. I almost crashed with another runner at the finish line, who came in HOT behind me, but crisis was averted. I moved through the finishers chute, being handed water, and apple, a rainbow bagel, and the real prize - a rainbow ice pop. Really, the ice pop alone would have been enough to convince me to run five miles.

I was very thankful for the many pockets on my shorts, as I crammed my apple and bagel into them as I enjoyed my ice pop. I waited in line to pick up my shirt, and once I had it I went to pick up my checked bag. Carson found me along the way, and walked over to get her bag as well. We then found a nice curb to enjoy our ice pops on.

Sophie texted me when she finished her race, and I walked back over to the shirt pickup area to meet her. Her and Janna briefly got separated - an issue as Janna had never been in central park before and had no cell phone on her - but Sophie found her surprisingly fast, and then they grabbed their shirts. By then we had all finished our ice pops, and made a group decision for another round - there were plenty of vendors in the park after all! Once we had our ice pops acquired, we walked towards the cherry hill fountain, where I knew some of the tri team had planned to meet up. I knew I was probably too late, but wanted to see if I could spot anyone.

I was indeed too late, but we snapped a few photos with the fountain anyway. We walked back up to race day central, posed with a few of the photo ops, then parted ways with Carson as we headed for the car and she headed for the subway.

It was another good week with the road runners, despite the warm temperatures. At the end of the race they announced that they had met their goal, and broke a Guinness world record for the largest pride run

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 6

If you’re looking for recaps 1-5, bad news: This is the first official weekly recap as i train for the 2019 Chicago Marathon.

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Of course, as luck would have it, I wound up with a cold this week, so it was likely the least interesting week of training so far. If you’ve been with the blog with any of my previous training cycles, you probably know that I have asthma, and when I wind up with a cold it can take me out for a long time if I am not super on top of it.

Last Sunday I headed to Jones Beach for my long run, with my parents along on their bikes for the miles. Lately we have been riding up and down the boardwalk early on weekend mornings, dealing with a breeze in one direction and the sun being just a little too hot in the other. We got in 12 miles at a 9:19 pace - a little slower than my goal of 9:06 for long runs, but still within the upper end of the range I wanted to hit. After the run we stopped and got bagels and I hung out with my parents at their house for a bit, until I got a call from my husband - he was running a fever. Eek! As I headed home I swung by target and stocked up on cold supplies, and delivered them to Dennis, who spent the entire day in bed. I started taking Zicam, in hopes that I could avoid the wrath of the cold. I went for a swim in the afternoon, and generally tried to avoid being in the apartment as much as possible.

Den’s fever broke on Monday, and while he was still sick, I crossed my fingers that since the fever was gone, I had avoided catching his cold. I headed out for a run before work, with Dad along on his bike, and aimed for some easy recovery miles. Dad and I chatted as we looped around the neighborhood, and six miles flew by, despite my legs feeling a little heavy at the start. That night I was still feeling okay, so I headed to hot yoga with Liz and Rachel, who were both in NY for the week. We got to the studio a little later than I prefer, and wound up on the right side of the room, AKA the hotter side, right under one of the heating panels. We were in for a doozy of a class. I was dripping with sweat within the first five minutes, my hamstrings screaming any time a pose made me stretch them out. We somehow survived the hour, although I found myself wondering how I used to do hot yoga on a regular basis. I have another 8 classes left on the package that I purchased from the studio, so I suppose I have plenty of time to re-acclimate.

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The plan for Tuesday morning was track to do some speed work - I set my alarm early, and dragged myself out of bed bright and early rolled into my running shoes. I had about a mile and a half run to the track, which was perfect for my warm up. My legs were unwilling to get with the program and get moving, but I pressed onward hoping I would hit a groove eventually. Dad was already at the track walking laps when I got there, and I pressed the lap button on my Garmin to get started with my repeats. The plan was four 1200m repeats, with 400 m of rest between each. I wanted the pace to be between 7:30 and 7:50 with the faster end of the paces being preferable. The first repeat rang in at a 7:49 pace, and wound up being the fastest of the morning. I struggled not to take full stops or walk breaks instead of jogging the 400m of rest, but my body was just not up for the fast paces. The other three repeats came in between 7:50 and 8:03, which isn’t bad, it just wasn’t quite what I was looking for. Dad biked along as I ran back to my apartment, on the cooldown after the hard work. All in all I had finished, 7 miles total, and I was wiped out when I got home. I questioned why paces that I have been able to hit lately had been so hard - and a few hours later I had a sore throat and was congested - I had the cold that I tried so hard to avoid.

I was wiped out on Tuesday night, so I opted to skip the swim that I usually go for. Wednesday I had a planned rest day, and truly took it easy, not even cross training like I usually do. By Thursday morning I was full of cold medicine, and getting out of bed was more of a struggle than usual, even though it was at a slightly later hour than normal - but it was the Fourth of July, and I was registered to run the annual Bellmore Striders 4th of July 4-miler with Rachel. Its not often that i get to run with her, as she has moved to California, so I didn’t want to miss the opportunity.

I scooped her up on the way to the race, and when we got to the train station we had about 40 minutes to go before the race was set to start. We collected our bibs, and had numbers right next to each other, now that we share a last name. Unfortunately they had run out of small shirts, so despite the fact that we had pre-registered, we wound up with tanks that were mens mediums, a little big for me and a lot big for Rachel.

Once we had our bibs we walked back to the car and stashed our tanks, pinned on our bib numbers, and pulled on our red, white and blue ProCompression socks. I had just gotten a new pair of their Sonic Boom print, so I loaned Rach my old flag pair.

The race was delayed by about 15 minutes due to long porter potty lines, but while we were waiting Dad made it to the start area on his bike. He had gone for a ride at the beach that morning, but had made it to the race just before the start to spectate.

Rach and I lined up next to the LIRR in the start area, and once the national anthem was sang, we were off. It was hot and humid, and when we spotted a sprinkler in the first mile we ran right through it. There are a total of 9 turns on the course, and we counted them off as we went. We clocked the first mile in 8:59, and I was feeling better than I expected to. Rach and I stuck together, chatting a little as we began to sweat our butts off. As we approached mile 2 Rachel needed to back off of the pace a little, as she was starting to feel nauseous. We walked into the a water stop at the second mile, taking a moment to cool off. The second half of the race didn’t go as well as the first, as Rachel was quickly overheating. Dad spotted us when he was spectating, and headed to a 7-11 to pick up some cold water for her. We did the best we could to alternate between walking and running, and Dad caught up to us with the cold water, which seemed to help. Eventually we ticked off mile three, and had just one mile between us and the finish line. Dad biked with us as we walked for a bit to make sure Rachel was okay, but eventually headed to the finish line as she managed longer run intervals. Since she moved to California she’s not used to running in humidity any more, and it certainly took its toll on her race today. We managed to run through the finish line, and then found Rachel a shady spot to sit while I grabbed us water bottles and watermelon. She cooled down, and started to feel a little better. I dropped her off after the race, and spent the rest of the day relaxing and hydrating.

I was bummed that I wasn’t getting in as many miles as I wanted to this week - my initial plan had been to run the 4-miler at a tempo pace, with a few warm up and cool down miles tacked onto it, but my body just couldn’t handle those paces while full of cold medicine. I decided to just go for a few easy miles on Friday morning, because something is always better than nothing. I got in a easy 5k before work, emphasis on the word easy. Even those three miles were a struggle - I was so ready to be back to 100%, and training as I intended. I wound up feeling like crap for the rest of the day, and actually headed home from work early because I just couldn’t breathe, and needed to use my nebulizer.

On Friday night Dennis and I attended Mike’s wedding, and I was so excited to watch him and Jude tie the knot. I wondered how many times I would wind up blowing my nose, and if it would lead to me having to re-apply my makeup. The wedding was beautiful, with their ceremony on the shore of Lake Ronkonkoma, where they exchanged vows that they wrote each other. I would be lying if I said happy tears were not cried more than once. We danced the night away, thankful that all of our miles gave us the cardio we needed to jump up and down to the music. When Mike’s brother gave the best man speech, he even paused for a shout out to Mike for qualifying for the NYC marathon - I was a proud run bully in that moment.

We had a late night on Friday, and when I made my marathon schedule I budgeted in a rest day for that Saturday, and was happy to sleep in. Since I had taken it easy with my runs on Thursday and Friday I considered going out for some miles on Saturday, but my body really was not up for it. Any time I tried to do little activities (such as cleaning up or cooking) around the apartment, I was feeling light headed, so I opted to park myself on the couch, and hope that another day of rest would give me the recovery I needed to get in a long run on Sunday. Dennis made us a hearty dinner on Saturday night - Fartlek Chili from the “Run Fast, Eat Slow” cookbook, and it was an excellent pick me up.

I didn’t bother to set an alarm for Sunday morning, as there were thunder storms in the forecast for the early morning hours. When I eventually woke up I procrastinated getting outside, even though there were no storms in sight. I ate some breakfast, used my nebulizer, and then watched some T.V. as i assembled my running gear. Eventually I was fully assembled, and there was no more reason to stall. It was going to be a solo 8-miler, as Mom and Dad had headed to Norman J. Levy preserve (AKA garbage mountain) to go for a walk before I got out of bed. It was in the 80s, but the sky was blue with a little bit of cloud cover, so it wasn’t too brutal outside. My only goal was to get some miles under foot, regardless of how fast or slow they wound up being. I popped on my headphones, set my garmin to show the time, and put on a podcast to keep me company.

The run felt better than I expected, and I made sure to keep the pace low- effort. Slowly but surely the miles ticked by, and as the miles stacked up it was more work to keep moving forward. But when the run came to a close, I was glad that I made the decision to get out there, despite not feeling 100%.

Here’s to hoping that things turn around next week, and my training gets back on track!