Archive for February, 2011


Sixty degrees Fahrenheit on February 18th! What did I do with this gift from the weather gods, this sweet reprieve from the frigid and inhospitable conditions we’ve endured since December? As if I had any other option! I went for a run–in shorts and a tee-shirt–of course.

I was dogsitting in Chelsea that weekend, so I ran to the West Side Highway Greenway for an out-and-back. It was 7:30 PM by the time I made it out, and I saw the first wave of people heading towards date-nights and girls’-nights; I saw relaxed workers heading home from happy-hours as I sped through Chelsea. Meh, rather be running. The air was heavy and gentle on my skin. My foot cadence was quicker than usual, and before I knew it I was pleasantly sweaty. My muscles felt supple, my breathing hard.

I wasn’t exactly giddy; rather, I felt a little smug. Many of the other runners out on the Greenway were struggling: they were run/walking, or holding their sides to relieve a stitch. Smugness can never just be enjoyed; I knew there would be a karmic backlash eventually but nevertheless I couldn’t resist feeling a little bit fitter and superior than these fair-weather joggers. I’m out there four seasons, people! Days like February 18th are my petty reward for being a foot soldier of winter running. 4 miles run in 34:16. Average pace 8:34; fastest mile 8:19; slowest mile 8:53.

I didn’t have to wait long for karma to nip me on the tush. Sunday morning I raced the Cherry Tree Relay in Prospect Park with @nycbklyngirl (EG) and @mdwstrnNYer (Tuesday morning MP) as the first runner on Team Tweet–and the “real feel” temperature was 16*F. Except for the 20 minutes I was racing, I was a block of ice from the second I left the apartment at 8:30 AM until I got home and could stand under a hot shower around 1 PM.

The race itself was a lot of fun. The 10-mile course went three times around Prospect Park, in Brooklyn. I was the first runner, primarily because I was the least fit teammate and Leg 1 was about 2 millimeters shorter than the other legs. I ran as hard as I thought I could sustain for 3 miles, and managed some decent splits on Mile 1 and 3, but the rolling uphill terrain and headwind in Mile 2 slowed me down by nearly 40 seconds! I could feel that I had lost speed and fitness since my PRs this Fall, but it was expected so I didn’t beat myself up about it. Instead, I took the race for what it was: a chance to push myself a little, a taste of the relay experience (I am already pining for the Green Mountain Relay, which I am skipping this summer), and a moment to talk running with my Twitter friends. Turns out we came in 57th overall, in 1:17:24, but 8th out of all Female teams! Not so bad! 3.21 miles run in 25:30. Average pace 7:56; fastest mile 7:45; slowest mile 8:19. EG’s race report (she has the distinction of being the speediest of us three.)

Betty continues to burn me, even though I am trying my best to keep up with Pilates and my PT exercises. At an anomalous yoga class on Monday I strained my right hamstring, so that is an annoyance but not a concern. I just hope she’s better by April, when I want to begin basebuilding for my Fall marathon training. I am mostly sure I will sign up for the inaugural running of the Empire State Marathon, in Syracuse, NY. The new Boston Qualifying requirements mean that I have a chance to run a qualifying time for the 2012 race (my time is still 3:45 for one more year). I still might not be able to get in, though, since the fastest runners will have a chance to register first. By the time registration opens for me, it might be full. It’s a chance I am willing to take while the qualifying time is still within a range I think I can hit. It’s still a goal of mine to BQ before I am 40, and since I turn 38 in a month, time is running out for me!

In the meantime, I am trying to run three days a week, go to Pilates twice a week, and hit the gym the other two days. Ambitious, yes. But when I fit it all in, I feel a sense of well-being both physically and mentally, so I will continue to strive for this routine.

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It’s been a while. It’s been a while since a lot of things have happened to me, not just since I’ve sincerely wanted to sit down and write on PF for you all. I’m leaving things behind, and this might refer to people and objects but mostly it refers to me-things. There was the girl from before, and soon there will be the woman I am meant to be. Right now, I’m in this foggy place where sometimes I can see through the wisps, but mostly I don’t know what the future will look like.

So, these are a few details you’ll need to know. I’m divorced, and I’m living in a new, temporary home (still in Queens but no longer in Sunnyside). Betty, my right adductor brevis, has been cranky and agitated since I ran in the snow in January 1st, so I have been running at most three days a week and instead my training has consisted of Pilates class, the elliptical at the gym, and my old PT exercises. Clamshells, and leg lifts, and squats–oh my! (At Pilates, I am the person in the class who makes everyone else feel good about themselves. I consider it my community service for the week.) Oh and also, work has been brutal since the turn of the year.

I ran this morning. I hadn’t scheduled it, just put it out there as a potential activity for the day. Mostly, I thought it was important I get enough rest and if that meant I didn’t have time for a run, so be it. However, I woke naturally at 8 AM, and after scrolling through the options of everything I could do this morning, I most wanted to run. That was a welcome realization. So I dressed up in pink (to feel pretty), tied up my pigtails (they are getting long), wrote up a turn sheet (I get lost), and loaded up a new playlist on to my iPod. I was smiling before I even started running. It was time to get physical, to be outside, to feel my heart pound.

Here in Astoria, I have no idea where to run. I’m not attached to this neighborhood, so I’m not enthusiastic about exploring. Nevertheless, I ended up liking the route I picked, across on 31st Avenue and up 21st Street to Astoria Park. The approach to the Triboro and Hellgate Bridges was different, and I appreciated that new perspective. Somewhere along 31st Avenue, something inside me cracked open and I could feel myself running with pure joy. It was a revelation: I loved the movement, I loved my company, I loved dodging traffic and waving at dogs on leashes. I loved skirting the park, oogling the bridges as they slyly arched away from me. For the first time in what could be months, I recognized myself. Here it was: this favorite part of me was safe and happy, just waiting to be invited out to play. I have been so busy dragging myself forward through this transition, examining myself, shining a light on the shadowed parts and feeding the starving ones, that I’d forgotten I know how to run.

I gave a little leap forward.

Oh! I suppose that’s metaphorical but I actually did give a little leap, right there on 31st Avenue. It was a bit like flying. I giggled, too.

5.11 miles run in 46:44. Average pace 9:09, fastest mile 8:57, slowest mile 9:21.


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