Tag Archives: Central Park

20 Miles to Remember

I’ve had some ups and downs this training go-round. I had a run-in with strep throat that slowed me down and made me feel super tired, I had some moments where I lacked motivation and chose to go out drinking for St. Patrick’s day rather than run a long run (oops), and every now and then I’ve had some ITB pain.

However, today’s long 20 mile run made everything better. It gave me a renewed sense of trust in my training and my strength, and it was really, really needed. I know not every run can be a good run and I accept that I need to have some bad runs to appreciate the good ones. So I am going to appreciate the heck out of this run. It was pretty much perfect.

20 Mile Run
So the run was great, but it didn’t start off well-planned at all. I was originally supposed to head upstate this weekend and run 20 miles there, with a short 5k plugged in the middle. At the 11th hour, Hubby and I decided not to go, which meant we were both planning on doing our long 20 mile runs in Central Park.

That my friends is the first problem. Central Park and I have had a love/hate relationship for a while. I love CP when I have to do a short run (8 miles or under), and I love that a lot of the NYRR races are held there–so convenient to my homestead, and it’s always been a big part of my marathon training. But that’s where the hate part comes in–sometimes I get pretty bored with Central Park pretty quickly during training. I feel myself dreading running there because I always know what comes next and where the hardest parts are.

So you are probably asking why I don’t just suck it up and try running over to West Side for a bit and then finish in Central Park? Fabulous idea–except for the fact that today I really needed to be close to water fountains because I decided to ditch my waterbelt.

What? You’re probably saying: “Girl, you’re crazy!” And Hubby looked at me the same way when I left the house. But I managed to pull off this long run without the belt…and it was pretty freaking awesome. Here goes:

Miles 1-7: Running to the park and one loop around. Easy breezy! Don’t follow my example here, but I didn’t take any water this first loop. The air was cool, I was moving fast and feeling great. I held off on water but formulated my plans.

Miles 7-13: Now I was heading into my second loop, which meant enjoying Harlem Hill another go ’round. Surprisingly, I still felt pretty strong and was cruising and pretending to be speedy. As I reached the top of Harlem Hill, I decided it was time for water. I missed the first water fountain after HH, but beelined it to the second one. I had to wait for two people to finish up, then I gulped down some heavenly water and headed back out.

Apparently the water tasted so good when it hit my lips that my body screamed for more. So I pulled over again after finishing the three rolling hills on the West side and gulped some more. I was on my way and still feeling okay.

I decided to actually buy a bottle of water and carry it around mile 12. I was on the East side, running past the stinky horse area and I was drawn to the vendor ahead. Two bucks later, and after possibly cutting in front of some tourist who couldn’t make up her mind, I had my delicious overpriced water in my hand and was back on the road. As I finished up my second loop, I sucked down a chocolate Gu and prepared myself for the last loop.

Miles 13-20: Third and final loop. Here we go. Things got tough for a little bit. Harlem Hill on the third try REALLY kicked my a$$ pretty good. But I pulled through. I finished my bottle of water as I reached the top and then made the wisest decision of my run: to not throw it out, but refill it instead. BOOM. How DID I get so smart? I refilled at the next water fountain on the West side and shuffled along. Actually – I really wasn’t moving that slow. I was kind of impressed with my pace throughout the whole run.

I made my way around the lower loop and headed back up the East side. I chucked my water bottle around mile 19, cleared out of Central Park and headed home for my last mile.

So here are my mile breakdowns:

I crept into the 9’s a few times, but most were when I was buying water, stopping for water, or refilling my bottle at a water fountain. And here’s how three lovely loops in CP looks on the map:

You’d think it was only one easy loop if I didn’t tell you!

And lastly, a few of my random thought during this run:

  1. I am pretty sure I saw Tim Tebow running the CP loop…carrying a football under his arm. Or it could have been a Tebow look alike that was trying hard to convince people he was Tebow. If the latter is the case, the imposter did a good job – or I was just moving too fast and a person walking wouldn’t have been so easily fooled.
  2. How the heck were people wearing winter sweatshirts and long sleeved shirts in 70 degrees? I did not get it. But I saw so many people who were waay over-dressed.
  3. I found my running pace twin. She doesn’t know we’re twins, but we ran about mile 11-18 pretty near each other. She kept stopping for water too or stretching or whatever she was doing, and I would pass her, and then she would pass me, etc. Normally, I might find this annoying. But this chick wasn’t all up in my space or anything and it took me a while to even notice it. But she was cool. We were running friends…even if she didn’t realize it. See ya around soon new friend – a.k.a. girl with the gray shorts and pink t-shirt.
  4. Throw your stuff in the trash, not on the ground. So I understand in a race if you’re taking a Gu, you might just fling the wrapper on the ground. You’re in a freaking race and you gotta move it – understood. But when you’re running during your free time in CP, have the common courtesy to hold it until you pass a trash can or something. Geesh people. Earth Day – ever heard of it?

So those were my random thoughts during today’s almost 3-hour run. And here’s what a happy runner looks like after finishing a fabulous 20-mile run:

And now it’s time to foam roll, roll with the marathon stick, shower, and EAT!

Happy weekend!

Week 11, 20 Mile Run, Scotland Run and Veggie Casserole

Wow – that might be my longest, most boring title ever. But it’s a pretty accurate depiction of my past few weeks.  There’s been a lot going on over the past two weeks and I’m going to try to cram it all in this post. Hubby and I just finished up week 11 of marathon training and it was a tough one.  Here is a snapshot of the planned week vs. the actual week for running (err slightly different):

 

So I ended up hitting 40 miles, but it was NOT exactly the way I had planned it. The top white row is what I actually ran: 4 miles on Monday, 8 on Tuesday, 5 on Thursday, 3 on Friday and 20 on Saturday. But that was not at all how I planned the week out. Oh well – in my mind all that matters is the total weekly mileage and the long run. 

Speaking of Saturday’s 20 mile run…

Scotland Run & 20 Miler

I headed over to Central Park for the Scotland Run (10k) a little bit earlier than normal so I could squeeze in about 4 miles before the start of the race. Then I found my corral and a few seconds later Bill found me and we started the race together. There were more than 11,000 people signed up for the race, but I think only about 7,500 finished the race. Either way – it was a lot of people which equaled a lot of weaving around. Awesome.

My first mile was understandably tough because of the amount of people around me. I ran it in about 7:53. I tried to pick it up on mile two and managed to push it a little bit despite the rolling hills, running mile 1-2 around 7:25.  I ran mile 2-3 in 7:19. Mile 3-4 was especially tough because of Harlem Hill. It was a rough climb up that hill and my legs were feeling pretty tired after my somewhat high-mileage past weeks. Finally reaching the top of that hill felt amazing. Then miles 4-5 and 5-6 were just okay. My overall splits were:

After I finished and found Bill, we stuck around for the raffle drawing. I don’t normally do this when I have to run more mileage, but last weekend when we stuck around after the Colon Cancer Challenge, we won theater tickets! Nice. Unfortunately, this week the crowd was much bigger and we didn’t win a darn thing. After that, we dragged ourselves back onto the Central Park outer loop to run 10 more miles. Ohh yeah – it does sound like fun doesn’t it? And…it…was…tough. Taking that long break did not help and the last 10 miles of my 20 mile run were pretty painful. I made the mistake of eating too much post-race food and had a stomach ache pretty much the whole time. All in all, it was kind of a grueling 20 mile run, but at the same, a pretty good race. I actually ran a personal best 10k time – the official NYRR time was: 47:40.

So that was yesterday and Hubby and I spent the rest of the day recovering. He ran 18 miles in total and had a high mileage week as well. And now today is Easter and I am in full on Easter dinner mode. I am making my first official Easter dinner at home and I feel super grown up. But that will be my next post.

For now, I will leave you with a delicious recipe that I made last Sunday – a veggie casserole that supplied me with lots of lunch leftovers.

Veggie Casserole

It was modified from this recipe: Zucchini Herb Casserole
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/zucchini-herb-casserole/detail.aspx
Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  •  1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, cubed
  • 1/2 cup of green peppers
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  •  2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups seeded, chopped or canned tomatoes
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Directions
Combine the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, until rice is tender.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a shallow 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.  Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the zucchini, green onions, and garlic 5 minutes, or until tender. Season with garlic salt, basil, paprika, and oregano. Mix in the cooked rice, tomatoes, and 1 cup cheese. Continue to cook and stir until heated through. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

——

If you are looking for an easy, filling meal to help fuel your training, you should definitely give this one a shot. And that’s all for week 11 of marathon training. I can’t believe I’m already at my 20 milers. I have a scale back week this week which means a lovely easy 12 mile run next weekend, which I am VERY much looking forward to. And then it’s on to the next 20 miler. 🙂

What about you – are you a fan of marathon training plans that scale back in mileage every few weeks? I follow Hal Higdon’s plans and love that he gives those little breaks. I find my body always needs it.

Not So Sexy 17 Miles

Sometimes the best long runs aren’t the ones where everything goes as planned, but you just plain get it done anyway. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to today’s long run. My weekly running plan hadn’t worked out right and I ended up having to run 3 miles on Friday night after work. Ideally, I like to take the day before and after a long run off completely. My two days of rest for the week.

Well, since I skipped my Monday run I had to end Friday with a few miles. Nothing crazy, but I hated it nonetheless.

So this morning I woke up around 7:30 a.m. and started this process of getting ready. Breakfast was the usual oatmeal, coffee, and water with nuun. But then I could not figure out what to wear – short or capris? Long sleeve, short sleeve or tank top. For some reason I was totally unsure. The decision was made (shorts and short sleeve shirt) and run-time was inching closer, but (excuse me for sharing too much info) my bathroom visits were not over. I ended up leaving about 15 minutes later than I wanted, still unsure that I wouldn’t have to stop somewhere along my route.

But I was off and made my way to Central Park. I don’t know what it is about CP, but it spurs my competitiveness. Although, it may not be completely competitive–sometimes I just don’t like running next to a person (or way too close) for a prolonged period of time. I start saying in my head “come on, just hurry up and pass me, if you’re gonna” or “come on Lindsey, you are totally crowding this chic, keep it moving.” And then inevitably, I end up going faster than I planned to put some space between me and the other person.

Does anyone else who runs in CP have this issue or am I totally weird that I don’t like being too close to other runners?

Today’s run consisted of two large loops (12 miles – 6 mile loop each), one bridal path loop, and then another mile on the main path, with a mile run to the start and back home. And what does that equal? 17 Miles!

Surprisingly, despite the rocky start, I felt pretty good at the end of my run. Here are my splits:

And the route…

I gotta be honest, the Central Park loop, while fueling my competitive drive, is getting a little monotonous. I’m not sure how I’ll get through next week’s 18 miler and then 20 in CP. I might need to get creative.

And after all was said and done, I was still able to smile after 17 miles!

I guess that probably means it wasn’t such a bad run, right?

And now, the rest of the weekend will entail a trip to NJ for dinner with friends and then a whole lot of cleaning tomorrow, including about 4 loads of laundry!

What are your plans for the weekend? How do you handle the laundry pile-up when more than one person in the family is exercising or training a lot? Do you do it all in one day or throughout the week? I’m tempted to start the throughout the week approach…

Have a great weekend!

Epic 18 Miles

Hi blog world. I’ve been mia for a VERY long time. Things have been very busy. I was promoted at work and that means a lot more work with some additional pressure. So I’ve been spending quite a bit of my time on work stuff, including even on the weekends. 😦

Plus, I hit a bit of a running slump. The past two weeks were really tough. Hubby and I traveled to Utica last weekend and because of the freezing temps and a boatload of snow, I wasn’t able to get my 11 mile run in. I hate missing long runs – it makes me feel less ready and confident.

So I knew that I had to run my 18 miles this Saturday, come rain, snow, laziness or whatever.

Week 11 – 18 Mile Long Run
I headed out to Central Park around 10:15 a.m. after a lazy and procrastinating morning. I was nervous but didn’t want to admit it. Long runs usually go one way or the other for me, really great or really bad. So I set off and right away things felt good.

I was having some major issue with my sneakers a few weeks ago. For about three years now, I’ve been running in Asics Gel Cumulus 11. Well – they stopped making the 11 model and I had to move up to 12. They did not work with my feet. The ball of my left foot was constantly sore and my toes were blistering like crazy. After much research on underpronators (I roll to the outside edge of my foot), I ended up tossing the Asics and buying the Saucony Grid Ignition 2. At a mere $59, these sneaks were much less expensive than the $100 Asics and my first long run with them put them to the true test. The result – a win for me! They felt great and my feet were comfy cozy.

Anyway, back to my run. After being delighted by how my sneaks were performing, I found myself entering Central Park for two full loops. I decided to bring my iPod along this time, since a nearly 3-hour run can get very boring. After mile two I turned on some tunes and rocked out around the CP loop twice. My first loop was fast! Way too fast if I’m being honest. But running up the big hill at the north end felt easy, so I just went with it. The second time I went up that hill, things slowed down quite a bit and began to feel some tension in my quads.

As I made my way around my second loop and back to the UES, I knew that completing my 18 miles was no long a question – it was going to happen. I had it. I exited Central Park at 90th Street and headed to the East River Promenade to finish things up. For some reason, the last two miles of my run were rough slow-going. My legs felt so heavy, there was just no picking up any speed.

But at last, I made it back home and finished up my epic 18 mile run in just under 2 hours and 38 minutes!

Here’s my route and splits:

And now I’ve got my running mojo back and am more excited than ever for Boston! I needed that epic run to get my mind right. Next weekend is  a scale back to 13 miles, but then the weekend after will be my first 20 miler!

After my run I rolled my legs out like crazy, but am still feeling some residual soreness today. Hubby and I had a low-key night last night, which included a fabulous steak dinner with potato wedges and salad and a bottle of wine while we watched The Other Guys. Gotta say –  not so impressed with that movie. I kept waiting for it to get really funny and it just never did. Disappointing.

So how is everyone else out there doing with their running?! Are you guys as ready as I am for winter to be over?!!