Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Run Before Athens

Another quick post - today, I am off to Athens!  So yesterday, I got in one last run before my trip, hitting a local park with my sister and niece.  My goal was 26 minutes, and with beautiful weather yesterday, it was a great day for running.  Aside from races, I've never run with anyone else, so I wasn't sure how well I'd do.  But we had fun - we started very slow because my sister has to push the jogging stroller with the baby in it, but I think that again helped me to get through the whole run feeling pretty good.  She broke off after  a couple of laps and I continued, doing about 2.2 miles in 26 minutes.  Not very fast at more than a 12-minute mile, but I was glad to get out there, enjoy the weather, and have a nice run with my sister.

Hopefully I'll get a run in on Wednesday at the hotel and Saturday afternoon as well!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Quick Update - Did Get a Run in Today!

Just a quick update, since I'm rushing around trying to get out the door to head to my parents' house.  Despite waking up with a mild migraine thanks to regular lack of sleep this week, I made myself put on my running clothes first thing so I'd make sure to go for a run.  A 24-minute run, combined with 3 Excedrin migraine actually seemed to help (maybe it's the opening of the blood vessels).  I really focused on slowing down today because I wasn't feeling so hot, and I actually felt good the whole run for a change - good stuff!  I'm a bit bummed that my overall pace is down, but I'd rather be able to finish a run feeling good once in a while and be a bit slower, and build my speed over time.  So today, I finished 2.07 miles in 24 minutes, an 11:35 pace.  Next run on Sunday up at my parents' and then off to Greece!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Blustery Run - the Wind is Back!

Today is a cold, rainy, blustery day. Great running weather.  Also great weather for curling up in a big cozy bed for a nap, but unfortunately, that's not on my to-do list today. 

I did however, go for a run.  It was cold enough when I left that although I was wearing my running tights and a tee shirt, I was wishing for a sweatshirt - I was so glad to finally have a chill before I started running! 

On the schedule for today - 22 minutes. As I started running, I could feel myself going a bit fast because it was chilly.  That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but I recently read that if you start off slow, it delays the build-up of lactic acid, which is what causes fatigue.  So I kept trying to focus on slowing myself down.  Sometimes, the wind helped with that, because it was blowing hard enough to take my breath away today.  Lovely.  I remembered how much I really hate that first mile and kept hoping that the second mile would be better.  I did eventually find a good pace, which surprised me, because it's been a while since I've felt like I've settled into a pace at all.  Usually, it's a lot of huffing and puffing and being convinced that I'm going to die and then slowing down to walk and mentally beating myself up for not being able to run when it's humid and hot.  But today, I felt more comfortable, finally - yay!  I did end up with a stitch in my side for the second run in a row, but since I'm not eating right before I run, I think it must be that my breathing is not where it's supposed to be because I'm out of practice.  Hopefully that will come back soon and I can  pick up the pace a bit. 

I ran the entire 22 minutes, which made me very happy that I've been setting and achieving my goals for each run.  I managed 2 miles in 22:02, or an 11:01 pace - still slower than I'd like, but I'll get there.  Once I'm up to regular 35 minute runs, I'll throw in some speed work.

Friday is my last run at home before I head to my parents for the weekend, a run up there on Monday, and then a business trip to Athens!  Since it's hilly there, I've already checked to see that they have a very nice gym at the hotel, and hopefully I can sneak in a couple of runs while I'm there, so I don't lose my momentum.  I still don't feel like I've been the same runner since I missed that week of running in June for our San Francisco conference.  So we'll see how it goes!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Heat Returns & I Slow Down

As I left for my run this morning, I was nervous. Even a little afraid. I wasn't sure why - I was planning to run 20 minutes this morning, and after all, I've run 20 minutes before. Maybe it was because it has warmed up again? But I consoled myself with the thought that this was likely one of the last warm days I'd have to run this year. So I couldn't figure out my apprehension. I suspect it was because I knew my creepy neighbor was out walking his dog, and I worried about running into him. Which I did (though not literally) and he stopped and stared at me as I ran on the other side of the road. Good thing a run cures frustration!

As I started to run, I thought "oof, this is going to be a tough one." But I reminded myself how negative self-talk can really affect a run, and instead focused on getting it done. After the first five minutes, I was struggling. This time, my lungs felt good, but my legs were already tired! I couldn't believe I was only a quarter of the way through! Since it is warmer today than it has been, I tried to focus on slowing down and leading with my hips. It looks like I was successful at slowing down at least, since my per mile time was at least 10 seconds slower than my last two runs - the heat definitely affects me!

The ten minutes in between the first and last five were okay. I kept telling myself to keep running and just to put one foot in front of the other. By the last five minutes, everything was hurting - my legs were giving up, my lungs were burning, and I had a stitch in my side. But I still didn't take a walking break. I just kept running. I ended up doing 1.8 miles in 20:03, an 11:08 pace (14 seconds slower than Saturday). But that's okay - I ran the entire 20 minutes, which is what I wanted to do, and I'm using the heat and only one recovery day as my excuses for slowing down. We'll see what Wednesday brings!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Time for Good Runs!

Despite an overwhelming desire to stay in bed all morning, I did push myself to get up and run today (much to my dog's dismay, who was all set to spend all morning napping on my bed). Although I'd initially thought that I would get a week of 15 minute runs in, I decided to push myself this morning and make it 18 minutes. Not a big difference, but I'd love to get back to running 35 minutes easily sooner rather than later, so I need to get a move on!

The weather today was cool and overcast, but it's still a bit humid. I could tell this was playing havoc with me as I got through the first five minutes, and my mind definitely wanted me to take a walking break or reduce my overall time. But I knew that I'd never get back to where I want to be without ignoring the whiny voice in my head, so I just kept running. My legs felt pretty good (though my quads were definitely SORE for the two days after my first run back) and it was just my lungs holding me back - my level of endurance has definitely decreased. I'm hoping that because I'm starting back up running in September, that I'll have a number of good months of running under my belt (and that it won't really snow too much this winter), so that I can really be committed to running next summer. Or maybe I'll just join a gym for the summer, so that I don't have to deal with the humidity!

At any rate, I was definitely struggling towards the end of the run, but I just kept focusing on how good I would feel to finish it and how much I wanted to be able to run that 18 minutes easily soon. I finally hit my mark, and ran 1.65 miles, or a 10:54 pace. It's nice to see that I'm running a decent pace when I feel like I'm running SO SLOWLY and I hope that bodes well for future runs!

I had wanted to get this run in yesterday (which would have allowed me to wallow in bed for the morning), but we had a nasty two-day storm hit the coast here. I know that north Jersey had some rain too, but we got hit hard enough to flood the road that I run on (further up from where I was today), and a lot of surrounding towns had several feet of water in the road. I was lucky to avoid that, but the rain and wind were so loud on Thursday night that I didn't get very much sleep, as I worried about my new fence and crawl space. So I decided that although I don't mind a good run in the rain, it's probably not that safe to run with high winds that can fling debris at you. I'm not crazy or anything!

But speaking of crazy, I am planning to do this year's Ocean Running Club Reindeer Romp, which is a 5k held in early December. I know some people might think that's nuts, but I'd rather run in the cold than the heat! Plus, it should be fun. It also looks like they do a winter running series in the same park as the summer series, starting in January, so I might sign up for that as well. The more 5k's I can push myself to do, the better!

My next run should be on Monday, and I'm planning to push my time up to 20 minutes!

Friday, September 11, 2009

9-11-2001 - Never Forget

Today, I break from posts about running to remember the events of September 11, 2001. On that day, I was a senior in college, asleep on my futon. With the head of my bed closest to our phone, I was the one to pick it up when it rang that beautiful sunny September morning. I heard my roommate's boyfriend (now husband) ask for her, and he sounded so terrible, I thought someone in his family had died. In shock as she listened to him, she told me to put on the tv and we saw the results of the first plane's hit on the North Tower. I knew my dad was supposed to fly to Portugal that day for a conference, and had it in my head that his flight was that morning. In a panic, I managed to get him on the phone before the lines were too busy with frantic calls from loved ones and found out his flight was supposed to be later that day. Since then, I've heard so many stories like that of near escapes and plain luck.

My roommate and I watched in shock and horror as the second plane crashed into the South Tower. We called our friends in the next dorm to see if they'd heard the news, and found out that one of them had a cousin who worked there (we later found out that she was just in the lobby when the plane hit, and managed to get out safely). We decided that we just wanted to be together, so I vaguely remember rushing around to throw on some clothes so we could head over there. I was standing at the sink, my roommate at her dresser, when we heard Matt Lauer say the South Tower had collapsed. I thought he must be kidding, and we rushed back to the tv to see that it was true. After we reached our friend's dorm room, the four of us watched the North Tower collapse, at first believing it to be re-aired footage of the first collapse.

At that time, it felt like pure chaos. On the news, they were saying that more than 30 planes were unaccounted for, and as we heard about the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of flight 93, I wondered when it would end. It felt like the end of the world. We were devastated, horrified, scared, and overwhelmed. Finally, there was an eerie calm as we tried to make sense of it. I still had to go to my job, first a lunch with my boss and another student - my boss was originally from Rockland county, so she knew firefighters in New York. I'm not sure how that lunch went because we were both in a fog, but I do remember watching the coverage with her when we got back to the computer lab where I worked. We were still in shock.

The campus posted a website where they would update the names of those who had confirmed that they were okay in New York and D.C., so we watched for friends' names to pop up. Our college lost three alumni that day. The school put together a hasty memorial service for that night and most professors cancelled classes. The next day, I was with three classmates on an errand when the 7pm memorial time started - the President had called the nation to stand outside with candles at that time, in memory of those we had lost. I stood in a parking lot with these three friends for an hour, until candle wax was melting over our fingers and the flame was threatening to burn out. Motorists honked and waved. More people joined us and we cried together. But it was comforting, the togetherness. I always think of that night on the 9/11 anniversary.

And I think about my dad. My dad who almost worked at Cantor Fitzgerald and was almost working there that day. My dad, who had to sit in his office alone and watch friends and former colleagues perish as the towers fell. What a nightmare for him, but how fortunate for my family that his life had taken a different turn. I think of those friends. Kevin Dennis, a stock broker for Cantor Fitzgerald, who left behind his wife and two young twin sons. Randy Scott, a broker at Euro Traders, who left behind his wife and three daughters and who I can still remember sitting on the couch in our living room in Old Tappan. And many more. It reminds me that just because time passes, the loss is no less great. I saw some of the young children at the memorial today, and knew that they may have never known the loved ones their families were mourning.

Since 9/11, I have watched friends and family serve overseas because of the events of that day - my brother-in-law, cousin, their friends and our friends. Their service and the sacrifice of their families reminds me of 9/11. And I long for that sense of unity and community I felt in the days and weeks after the terrible events of that day - the sense that we could all get through this together.

Today, as I watched the families and volunteer representatives read the almost 3,000 names, I cried along with the family members who broke down remembering their loved one. I thought about how I would feel if it were my sister, my father, my husband, my best friend lost that day. My heart goes out to them and I hope they can find strength and peace today. A father who had lost his son said that it wasn't raining today - that these were tears. I think he's right.

9/11 - We will never forget.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm Back!

I would like to say that I've spent the last 18 days running or biking and just forgetting to blog, but unfortunately, that's not the case!

Following my post about the Run for the Fallen, I dealt with another week of that brutal migraine. Even though the weather vastly improved, I was still feeling sick, exhausted, and as if a truck had run over me. Finally, I started to feel better and the weather cooled off enough that it would be possible for me to run in the middle of the day (which is what I prefer). But I was scared. I hadn't run as much as I should have this summer, because I hate humidity and getting up early, and I didn't know where that left me. I'd started to really despise running this summer, and I wanted to get back to a more consistent schedule with the better weather, but I was afraid that I'd still hate it. That I couldn't run as far or as fast. That coming back would be too hard, since I hadn't been a runner for that long.

But basically, I just needed to get back on the horse and do it again. I had thought about running over the weekend, but a fence project took priority and meant all of my muscles were sore and already pushed to the limits. So that left starting today. After another migraine last night, I wasn't sure how I'd feel when I woke up this morning. I did feel tired, but I knew it was just excuses and worried that if I didn't just get out there and run, I'd never do it. I wanted to push myself and figured that I couldn't skip the workout if I was already dressed for it! So I put on my running clothes and decided to run around lunchtime.

I figured I'd start off the run and see how I felt before making a decision as to how long to run for. As I picked up the pace, I felt pretty good - much better than the sick, mushy feeling I had gotten every time I ran when it was humid. What a relief! I reminded myself that I normally struggle through the first mile, and thought I'd try for 20 minutes. But around six minutes, I realized that I'd never make 20 and instead decided to go for 15. I kept up my pace and ran with my hips, turning around at 7:30. As I neared the 15-minute mark, I realized that I wasn't going to make it to where I'd started, so I had to make a decision - did I push it and continue to run until I got back to my starting point? Or did I listen to my body, which thought the last 30 seconds was some of the toughest running I've done? I decided I needed to push it, and it turned out to only be an additional 45 seconds. I did 1.44 miles in 15:45, which is a 10:56 pace.

Although it wasn't one of my longer runs, it's the longest I've run consecutively in a while, so I'm happy with it. I was also glad to see that my speed (for me, under 11 minutes is good) did come back with the dip in temperature and humidity, so that made me feel pretty good too. My plan is to get back up to running 35 minutes, three days a week and I think I can do that well into the winter, since we don't get a lot of snow or ice here. I felt a good tired when I got back from the run, which I haven't felt in a long time, so I'm looking forward to jumping back into the routine!