speedwork: starting again

 Its not about the speed with which you run, but actually getting up and doing it! Love this. #runners

Ah, this quote.  The exacting, scientific side of me, which tends to overrule the feeling side of me, recognizes the truth in this quote.  But that hidden feeling side of me realizes just how untrue this quote is.  Have you ever been at mile 22 of a marathon?  I swear it’s longer than mile 4.  Running an uphill mile?  Definitely longer than a downhill mile.  And those miles run with friends?  They must be shorter than mile repeats.

Where am I going with this, you ask?

Well, I did some speed work today.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I headed out with fast running in mind.  Early 2014 at the latest, I assume.  (Thank you, triathlon training.)  But with plans for a May marathon, I need to start to push myself.  Coming off of working six out of the last seven days (and some wine last night), I wanted to do some speed work tomorrow.  However, NYC is calling for some more snow tonight/tomorrow, and the road conditions might not be ideal for speed work.  Alright, I’ll do it today.

I’m not sure what the best workout is to do when you haven’t pushed the pace in awhile, but I figured three miles at tempo-ish pace would be a good start.  Of course, I’m not entirely sure what tempo pace is these days…I ran a half marathon a few weeks ago at 7:30 pace, and that was rough but doable.  My marathon PR is at 7:35 pace, soooooo there’s a bit of a discrepancy in what shape I was in then versus now.  I figured three miles at 7:00 pace would be a good start.

I headed out to Central Park for a two mile warm-up…but my watch beeped at two miles right at the bottom of Cat Hill, and I’m smart enough to realize that kicking of speed training by running up a hill probably isn’t good for anyone.  So up the hill I went, then I got ready to get to work. 

Not quite sure what 7:00 pace feels like, I took off at a comfortably fast pace and then stared at my watch for the next third of mile.  For the record, time and distance definitely seem to slow down when you glue your eyes to your watch.  The pace felt fast yet manageable, and I knew there was some downhill ahead – music to my ears!  The first mile clicked off in 6:51, possibly too fast but it was downhill!

This is where I get into my head.  After the downhill and some flat, the west side hills kick in.  Even though I’m not a terrible hill runner, running hills at fast pace kills my mental game.  Seriously, it’s the worst.  Since I knew what was coming, I was tried to trick myself.  Singing a song.  Counting my steps…trying to figure out how many steps I had left to take (don’t play that game, it’s a large number).  I finished the second mile up a hill and felt my heart pounding and my breathing getting labored…and I freaked myself out.  The second mile finished in 6:47 (oops?), and I hit STOP on my watch.

I proceeded to cough for a minute straight because I most definitely have a nervous cough…and I haven’t run that fast in awhile.  Then I got mad at myself for not pushing through and running another tempo mile.  Maybe I this wasn’t the best workout to start with.  Maybe two miles at sub-7 pace isn’t so bad after all.  I’m not sure which is the right answer.

After getting over myself (or thinking about it the rest of the run), I shuffled the two-ish miles back home as a cool down.  Of course, what feels like a shuffle after running some fast paces isn’t actually a shuffle at all – still sub-8.  Oops.


I suppose not too shabby for my first day of speed work, but I definitely need some work…and certainly in the mental game as well.

on the strength training front

I did Jillian Michael’s when I got home, and some of the moves never seem to get easier!  If anyone has tips for the chair pose chest fly, please let me know.  This is what Jillian looks like while doing it:

And I will spare you what I look while trying the move, mainly because I don’t want anyone to see me workout.  (Ask Eric, I make him stay in the other room.)  I can hold chair pose just fine in yoga, but add in that chest fly and my arms might as well fall off.  At least I know I have something to work on.

I don’t feel like I’ve mastered week 1 yet, but I’m going to try the Week 2 workout next to mix it up a little.  It’ll be a step up, but I’m looking forward to doing so.

Any recommendations for speed work after months of easy running?  What are your favorite speed workouts?  I’ve got the endurance thing down, I just need to pick up the pace.

first snow run of 2015

After working four shifts in a row, I mostly look forward to not setting an alarm for a 6am wake up call.  Once I move past that, I’m excited to get out for a run.  Four shifts can be physically and emotionally exhausting, so I don’t always have the most pep in my step for that first run, but I always look forward to it.  Today, I had a little more urgency to get my run in because of the impending blizzard scheduled to hit NYC and the rest of the Northeast this afternoon/evening into tomorrow.  NYC is in panic mode, but I wanted to get in a run before the snow got too bad.  Jess summed it up pretty well…


Eric went to Fairway yesterday (they apparently ran out of eggs), so luckily I didn’t have to face the madness of an NYC grocery store before a storm.  It’s worst than shopping the day before Thanksgiving, that’s for sure.  As a side note, I can’t be snowed in tomorrow because I still have to go to work.  Good thing Eric got me boots for Christmas…

The plan for my run today was to be nice and easy.  I needed to “run” an errand, as I had to pick up a prescription at my old pharmacy on the Upper East Side.  The sidewalk was a mix of totally clear, not clear at all, salted, and kind of icy.  It certainly made for a cautious run to the park, but Central Park was gloriously clear.  I’ve always found that no matter how bad of a storm we get, the city manages to clear the park roads well and in a timely fashion.  With this in mind, I was a little sad to be heading out of the park to get to the pharmacy, but it was exciting to return to my old neighborhood!  I ran past my old apartment and wondered how the new tenant is liking (or not liking) it.  A quick stop in at the pharmacy and back home I headed.

One reason I like running in the snow is how warm it is – growing up in Chicago, you learn that it can be too cold to snow, so temperatures in the 20’s really aren’t that bad.  Plus, the snow cloud serve as a blanket, holding in some heat.  (That’s not based on science, in case you were wondering, just my theory.)  The snowflakes seems so peaceful, and the cooler temperatures and less-than-ideal conditions (plus the fact that I run during normal business hours…) make for a fairly empty park.  Despite living in a big city, I still love solo runs, and this is one of the ways it happens! 

central park Perfection.

Of course, all this peacefulness went right out the window when I exited Central Park and almost got hit by a car.  Thanks for running the red light, car.

Despite some slower miles due to the unsure footing on the sidewalks, the run evened out overall, and I enjoyed some time out in the snow.

Monday, January 26 – 5.42 miles in 43:34, avg pace of 8:02

image Hooray.

I finished up my workout for the day with some Jillian Michaels – I’m still doing Week 1 since some of the moves are still quite challenging.  (Do chest flys ever get easier?)  Plus, I took many days off since I was working all the time, and I’m still trying to motivate myself to get the workout in on days that I work.  I was covered in sweat and have felt a bit tired post-workout, so I guess that means I’m doing the workout properly!  I made Eric retreat to the bedroom for the duration of my workout because I don’t want anyone to see me attempt to side lunge with an arm raise, haha.  Props to people who post workout videos, I can only imagine what I look like…

I’m spending the rest of the day kicking back and seeing what the weather will actually bring – we’ve got some big snowflakes coming down as I type, so who knows.  Gotta rest up for tomorrow – rough weather usually leaves us short staffed at work, so I have to be prepared!  (Dress warm, everyone!  No frostbite for you!)

Do you run in the snow?  Did you buy all the groceries to survive the storm?  Will you get a snow day tomorrow?  Make me jealous.

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