That that don't kill me, can only make me stronger. I need you to hurry up now, cause I can't wait much longer. Kanye West, Stronger

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Risk factor

Joining Team in Training was a significant commitment to fundraising (feel free to donate now!) and training. While I knew this going in, I never really thought about the other things I would have to sacrifice. Friday nights. Wah wah wah. I know. You are over the complaining. Secretly, it’s kind of nice to have an excuse to go to bed early after a long week.

What I really never considered was that I was going to have to give up my heels. Those of you who know me know that I am vertically challenged. My insecurities date back to sixth grade when I abruptly stopped growing at a diminutive 5 feet with spine fully extended. As you can tell from the photo, I don’t own many flats. But lately I have been so worried about getting injured that I have decided to give up all my cute summer sandals, wedges and pumps as a preventative measure. It’s not going to be easy. I am preparing to be looking people in the shoulder for the next five months. But after I took a spill crossing Union Square in a pair of wedges in the rain last week, I decided it was necessary. I was lucky to get off with a few minor cuts and a bit of embarrassment, but next time…

Exciting discoveries

My Saturday running partner let me in a virtual cornucopia of run enhancing knowledge!

The first being that there is an incredible bathroom hidden under the stairs of Bethesda Terrace. I can over-hype this WC! These are not the damp, paper-strewn, mirror-less park bathrooms of Astoria Park. They are actually far nicer than any Starbucks bathroom I have ever used, and nicer than most of the restrooms in Barnes and Noble. They can only be described as immaculate creations of marble and stone with a rows and rows of stalls. Not that they were all necessary because they were all empty before I arrived! Everyone was probably in the stinky porta-potties lied up outside. Run easy New York.

Great discovery 2.

The Nike Town store on 5th ave lets runners leave their bags in lockers while they run. This means that I can practice in the park on non-team practice days without wondering what to do with all my stuff! I have a habit of preparing for every case scenario. So like Nicole Riche and her starlet posse, I too carry a larger than life, ever-present, 40+ pound shoulder bag that is stocked with enough provisions to prepare me for anything from a trip to the gym to an ice storm. Not exactly something I can leave under a bush in Central Park.
So thanks Nike!

Going the distance…not going for speed

Saturday was a beautiful day to be running in Central Park! I hoped off the train at 59th and headed up 5th taking in the pretty hotels, brownstones, and museums along the way. I don’t mind the ¾ mile walk to the terrace on the way to practice. On the way home it’s a little rough. After a great mission moment (more in a later post), my training group was assigned a 6 mile run. We aim to increase 1-2 miles a week, no more. So I decided to run with the 10 ½ minute mile group for two reasons: I knew people in that pace group and I have never run six miles! On the treadmill, I typically run about 9 -9½ minute miles, but let’s face it when you are running on the treadmill you want to do everything in your power to get off it as quickly as possible!

It turned out to be a great decision because it was by far the best, albeit the longest, run I have done since starting this crazy endeavor!

The time flew by, I never got tired, and I really enjoyed the park. Lots of dogs, bikers, baseball games, surprisingly lush trees. I always have to remind myself that Central Park is beautiful because it was created by landscape architects! For more on the creation of the first made park of the 19th century, check out the wikipedia entry.

So my first officially six mile run gave me a huge sense of accomplishment…I am still striding, I mean striving, for a runner’s high!

After practice I actually had to go to a work event in Flushing, so headed to the gym to shower and make myself as presentable as possible. Thank god for the New York Sports Club.

On my walk from the gym to Bryant Park where I was meeting a co-worker to hop on the 7 train, I realized I hadn’t had anything to drink all morning. Not good. I grabbed a bottle of water. For a brief moment the sound of my dad saying paying for water is like paying for air to breathe resounded in my head, but I decided water would be less expensive than a trip to the hospital if I passed out due to dehydration. On the bright side, I had already traveled 8 1/2 miles on foot and it wasn’t even 11:30, pretty cool.

If she can do it…

Okay, let me start at the beginning. When we first started training our Coach Christine was pregnant. If you were running behind her, like I was, it would have been impossible to tell that she was expecting. Not only was she whipping past most of the runners, but with the exception of her stomach, she was fitter and more toned that most people in the park. A few weeks ago she was leading our cool down. She had us squatting on one leg with one knee crossed over the other. I was kind of holding my breath as she displayed incredible balance. Then someone innocently asked when she was due. She casually replied, one week.

At that point I practically feel over, and the team let out a collective gasp. This woman was running with a week to go! And she was running FAST!

Fast forward three weeks, she has a beautiful baby and is back at practice. For the record, she looks like she was never pregnant.

As if that was inspiring and humbling enough, she assures us that child birth is way harder than running a marathon. Time to suck it up!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mission moments

One of the things that makes running with Team in Training is the commitment to the cause.

At almost every practice we have someone who is or has battled blood cancer speak to us and encourage us. It really keeps me going.

In fact, we even have team mates who finished chemo just months ago running with us! Pretty impressive, right?

One of our honored teammates from last season was at practice last week cheering us on. She is a little girl who was diagnosed with cancer at 2 years old, and is now in remission. Every time we came running around the lower loop she would yell, go team! It's hard to stop running with support like that!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Bump in the road.

Thus far I have managed to make it through our Saturday morning long runs without too much pain. Until this week, June 2. I got home pretty late, but still managed to make it to Central Park on time. However, showing up is not enough---this isn’t college. I am actually expected to run, and that part was excruciating. Every step. Usually I transition to cruise mode after a mile or so. Not this time. My coaches weren’t kidding when they told us to give up our Friday nights. Sadly, it’s necessary. It’s me and Netflicks on Fridays from now until October 21st. Alright, time to write a letter to Kate, my honored teammate, because she is what is really keeping me going.

Something new

This week we started our interval training.

Basically we run 8 minutes, then do squats, push ups, and lunges for 8 minutes, and repeat for about an hour. Then we do a bunch of ab exercises. I thought this would be really rough—in fact, I got a pre-practice Mister Softee cone on the way to the park for insurance. Once I start running, I try not to stop because it is hard to start again. But by the end of practice, I felt awesome! Fast forward two days and I felt seriously sore, but still awesome. I alternate freaking out about running and fundraising. And I need your support in both, so please donate. If you have already donated, send me some love! Thanks! I won’t be able to do it without you.

Don't got the beat

The weirdest thing about training with the team is not using my ipod. I would say there have only been a handful of times in the last 5 years I have worked out without music of some kind. The few times my ipod has malfunctioned, I have hoped off the treadmill, and hoped on the next train to the Apple Store. At first working out sans music was kind of like working out naked. On the plus side, I was forced to be social. Talking with teammates throughout the runs really helps keep the miles rolling along.

So early!

Generally, New York City likes to sleep late on weekends, rolling out of bed just in time for a 12:30 brunch. But bright and early Saturday morning I arrived in Central Park for my first “long run.” I learned that Central Park has four main loops: a four mile, two five miles and a 6 mile. As a beginner, I was first introduced to the 4 mile loop. I made it the whole way without collapsing or even walking. Yay! Bright and early Saturday morning I arrived in Central Park for my first “long run.” I learned that Central Park has four main loops: a four mile, two five miles and a 6 mile. As a beginner, I was first introduced to the 4 mile loop. I made it the whole way without collapsing or even walking. Yay!

Month 1 Recap

Practice one.

I arrived at Central Park at 6:30pm…completely terrified and more than a little nauseous. At this point, the following thoughts were going through my head:

-What have I gotten myself into?
-I am not a runner; I am out of my mind.

All of the sudden a guy wearing a backpack sprinted across Bethesda Terrace toward me.

-Oh my god, is this guy in the beginner group? I am so out of my league. Fortunately, the eager fellow turned out to be my coach. Actually, my “freakin coach” as he calls himself.

The first practice wasn’t too bad. It was 3.5 miles; farther than I have ever run in a race, but not the farthest I have ever run. It was my first encounter with the famed Central Park Reservoir loop, for the record that 1.5 mile distance seems eternal. Oh, I discovered the coolest thing ever at practice: the lampposts in CP have the street numbers on the bottom. Believe me when I tell you that I counted every single pole on the way from the reservoir back to the terrace at E72.

Views from Bethesda Terrrace