Weather

Over the Halfway Hump

A snapshot from of the reservoir. Pretty, yes? (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com)

It’s crazy to think there are only three weeks left till race day! I’m happy to report that my runs last week went much smoother thanks to the absolutely gorgeous weather we got here in NYC. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you wake up to 65-degree temperatures, no matter how sleepy you may be.

My long run last week was 11 miles. Instead of doing my usual loop around the outside of Central Park I tried something different–running on the reservoir and bridle paths on the inside of the park. These paths are great for runners recovering from an injury because it’s a softer tread, making the impact with the ground less severe. Though the thought of running in circles made me cringe, once I set out and hit a groove it turned out to be a really nice change of scenery! Instead of wondering how far along I was on my route, checking to make sure I wasn’t lost or constantly glancing at my watch, I was able to completely zone out and enjoy myself. Before I knew it, I was eight miles in and ready to start my trot back home.

It was also unusual that I didn’t think about anything on this particular run, since typically this is where I do my best brainstorming! Any time I have a difficult decision to make or hectic day, I use running to sort through my thoughts and regroup. So while I didn’t have my outfits for the week planned out (like I said, I make very serious decisions while running) or any idea what to make for dinner after my run, I did come back feeling relaxed and refreshed, two things that don’t necessarily go hand in hand with 11 miles! On top of that, my pace was a full 30 seconds faster than usual. Lesson learned for future long runs–less thinking, more zoning!

Now tell me: What do you think about when you run? Is it your next race, your day or something else? Tell me in the comments below, I’m curious!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

 


A Survival Kit and Sunny Skies

Another perk with these packs? They are designed to stay cold for 20 minutes, so you don't have to time your ice sessions! (Photo courtesy of TheraPearl)

I have to say (and I’m sure Olivia feels the same way), so far we’ve been extremely lucky with the weather here in NYC. There wasn’t a single morning last week where the temperature was below 40 degrees, which made getting out of bed a touch easier for me. I’ve always been a morning runner, but when you can run without snot dripping down your face and frozen fingers, it’s just a better way to start your day.

My runs last week were pretty long. The weekday runs varied between 5 and 6 miles and my weekend long run was 8 miles. Needless to say, I welcomed a 4-mile recovery run on Sunday with open arms! I noticed my pace was a bit slower (about 30 seconds), which I think is due to my legs adjusting to the mileage increase. They are tired, and who can blame them? I’m hoping to get back up to speed, literally, this week.

I also unintentionally assembled a bit of a half-marathon survival kit of little things that make my training easier. Here’s what I’ve been using so far:

  • TheraPearl hot/cold packs: These are great because you can microwave or freeze them depending on what kind of relief you need. I’ve been using heated ones for my back and iced packs for my shins and knees when I start to feel achy.
  • GU Energy Gel: For long runs, anything over 6 miles. I usually eat the tri-berry flavor, but am itching to get my hands on the peanut butter ones!
  • A foam roller: To keep up with my IT band stretches from my visit with Dr. Shure.
  • Lululemon Featherweight Socks: Not only are they comfy, they are so light you feel like you’re running barefoot. Minus the blistering and sweaty feet part, of course. The right one says “run” and the left one says “fast,” so clearly I’m also a sucker for motivational socks.
  • Nike Daybreak Running Hat: It might have been warm last week, but it was also a little drizzly! This cap keeps me dry in rain and shielded from the sun during the summer.

Here’s hoping that stretching, icing and foam rolling will have my legs feeling fresh and ready to go this week. We’ve got a lot of miles to cover!

Tell me: What’s your go-to gear for running or recovering?


Ideal Race Weather “In Our Neck of the Woods”

Susan and Al Roker hang out and enjoy the beautiful weather before the race.

Susan and Al Roker hang out and enjoy the beautiful weather before the race.

Yahoo! I did it!

We couldn’t have had more perfect weather for race day. I guess we got payback for the last two years! Before the race, I was thrilled to have the chance to meet Al Roker and thank him for the lovely conditions.

Overall, the race went well, and most importantly, I finished! I must admit, I did not go into this race in the same mental and physical state as the NYC Half I ran on a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, due to a last minute obligation that consumed most of my weekend, coupled with poor sleep, I was tired and sore before I even began. However, once I got to Central Park, the crowds of women and sunshine motivated and energized me. Central Park looked stunning and it was so alive with positive energy.

While running I did all of the things that have worked for me in the past such as eating GU beans and stopping at every hydration station for a few sips of either water or Gatorade. However, it was a different day and a different race and I soon realized those thing weren’t working the same for me as in the past. Instead of energizing me, the beans left me feeling extremely thirsty and were sticky in my mouth.

For the last several miles, I had a bad cramp (something I’ve never had during a run) and I also felt a great deal of pain in my hip and knee. I really think this was my body’s way of telling me that I’ve been too hard on it and it probably wasn’t the best idea to run two half-marathons back to back. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I stretched at the water stations and decided to just run through it. Despite my challenges, I was happy with my time and ended up having fun.

I especially was so glad to be a part of Team Hole in the Wall. Since I had committed to raising money for this amazing charity, nothing was going to get in my way of finishing this race. During some of the hills and toward the end, my commitment to Team Hole in the Wall is what kept me going. If my running can help make a sick child happy, then it’s worth every step to me!

For those of you who participated, how did the race go for you? Did you have to overcome any unexpected events along the way?


The Final Race Countdown

Ideal weather for a run on Sunday! (Image from weather.com)

Ideal weather for a run on Sunday! (Image from weather.com)

The big day is quickly approaching. Are you getting excited, nervous? Are you ready?

My adrenaline high after the NYC Half-Marathon gave me such an energized start to the week! I was sore, but did not feel any pain. I took fours days off from all exercise and focused on stretching and trying to rest. Then on Thursday, I ran five miles and felt tired and tight. So I listened to my body and decided not to push it over the weekend. I ran seven miles and felt OK. I didn’t want to overdo it and also wanted to conserve my energy for the upcoming race!

This week I plan on doing a few short runs, stretching and a working in a bit of cross-training. And I’m of course looking forward to the carb loading!

As I’ve mentioned before, in regards to weather, I’ve had back luck with the More/Fitness Half-Marathon! In 2009 it was a balmy 95 degrees, while 2010′s race was on the other end of the spectrum: it poured and was very chilly. I already checked out the weather forecast and am thrilled to see that “perfect running” weather is predicted. I’m not 100 percent confident (as we know, these things change a million times and frequently aren’t accurate). However, I’m trained and ready!  Rain or shine, I am committed and I am ready to rock this race.

I know that those of you who have been following along with the training program will too. You’ve trained hard, so enjoy every minute. You deserve it!