new shoes, new workout

Speaking of all this training (for Eugene!), I’ve had a pretty good training week so far.  After working Saturday and Sunday, and therefore sleeping until almost 11 on Monday (pretty sure I was battling off a cold all weekend), I was ready to go get some miles.  I’m off Monday-Wednesday and Saturday this weekend, which means those will be the days that I run!  With the cold/wet/snow/dark, I still can’t manage to get myself up before work, so I try to squeeze all my runs into the four days that I’m off.  The hardest part is not being able to switch out a workout/run if I’m not quite feeling it and realizing that I’ll hit a cap on my weekly mileage – you can only run so many miles in four days!

Moving on.


As I said, I was fitting off a bit of a cold, so I wasn’t quite sure how this run would go.  Should I cut the run short?  Should I not run at all?  I decided to go out and see how I felt, and I was pleasantly surprised.  My legs felt a little creaky (trend for the week…), but they loosened up and I told myself to keep an easy pace.  I was also excited to do this run because I had just ordered new running shoes.  I got two pairs of the Brooks Ravenna 6…I thought I might get by having a pair of shoes without pink or purple on them, but I did not.  Sigh.  But at least the pair I wore was white as the shoe…not sure how long that will last!

photo 1 (34) Such white snow, such hot pink shoelaces.

Please note that I did not run in the snow, this was merely for photographic purposes.  The road was perfectly clear!  The run felt fine, and eight miles ended much easier than I expected when I started.  And the Ravenna 6 gets a thumbs up in my book…so far!

Monday, March 2 – 8.13 miles in 1:03:23, avg pace of 7:55


I don’t know why I dread workout days so much…I think I get nervous about the pace even though it usually turns out just fine, and I end up surprising myself more often than not.  But oh well.  After recently reading Robyn’s major catch-up post (warning:  she still talks about 2014), I felt inspired to mix up my workout.  She posted about a 2 x 10 minutes at a faster tempo pace, which sounded nice.  I’m not quite sure what “faster tempo pace” means, so I turned to the McMillian calculator for guidance.  Based on my latest half marathon (1:38, not a PR) and my goal marathon pace (PR of 3:18 minus a few minutes), I got some numbers.

image Suggested tempo pace.

image “Goal” 10k pace.

Hrrrrrrm.  Still not sure what to aim for, I decied that 6:39 was a bit too lofty right now, but anything above 7 minute pace didn’t seem quite challenging enough.  I decided to aim for 6:45-7 minute pace, giving me a little leeway depending on how I feel.  Excellent.

I headed to the Hudson River Path for a 2.5 mile warm up – legs still creaky, gotta work out those kinks!  After a few nervous coughs, I took for my first round of ten minutes.  Ten minutes isn’t so long, right?  …….right?  My Garmin told me for about a quarter of a mile that I was running 7:30 pace, which certainly made me nervous while trying not to sprint to drop the pace.  I held on and I think it was a just satellite/cloud issue, and I eventually settled in around 6:50-ish.  This feels fast but nice, and I’ll stick with that.  I prayed as I came across some stoplights in the pedestrian path, hitting them correctly so I didn’t have to stop.  Thank goodness.  Time flew by and I felt in control…one repeat done!

image Sidenote:  I wore my heart rate monitor!

I did a four minute active recovery, which was greatly needed and much appreciated.  My recovery took me past two NYC Park golf carts and two girls who entered the path from Houston St, which I automatically assume to be NYU students.  (Could be totally wrong, but not too many people are running at 11am on a Tuesday…)  I turned around with just enough time to avoid a stoplight and took off on my second repeat.

If you’ve ever run repeats, you probably know that the first repeat seems the easiest.  (Maybe the second since you have the blood flowing already, but at least you’re 100% fresh for the first.)  You can drop a crazy pace on the first one, but you have to prepare for the later repeats!  Luckily, this workout only had two repeats, so I was just pushing through to the finish.  Also, the start of this repeat started with a chase – running down those golf carts and the two girls.  I felt strong as I approached them and strong as I passed them…with 6:40 pace staring at me on my watch.  Don’t go crazy, Susan – but please hold on!  I’ll admit that I think the wind was at my back for this one, but I felt really strong and in control.  I didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard, and I could imagine myself pushing hard in a race situation like that.  (Like a 10K, not longer!)  The repeat passed along quite fast, except for the last two minutes.  I keep getting worked up over the end of my workouts, like I won’t make it and/or might vomit.  I’ve never had problems with this before, so it’s an odd feeling, but I think it’s totally mental.  No matter what workout I do, it’s within the final minutes!  Ugh.  But I pushed through and had a rocking split.

image Hooray!

I put my hands on my knees for a minute or two before cooling down.  Since I try to pack many miles into a few days, I ended up with about a four mile cool down.  My legs weren’t necessarily in the mood for two extra miles, but I switched my watch over to heart rate mode and tried to keep it comfortable and consistent, which seemed to be around 165bpm.  I dragged my feet around for a bit and made it home.  WHEW.

photo 2 (33) I mostly had the path to myself.  Winter running isn’t so bad…

Tuesday, March 3 – 10.11 miles in 1:18:27, avg pace of 7:46


For some reason, I decided it might be fun to mix up my run a bit.  I tend to only run in two places:  Central Park and the Hudson River Path.  The ice/snow has limited some of the “extra” options that Central Park has (namely the bridle path), and the repetition can be kind of annoying.  Plus, my legs were still stiff from the miles over the past two days, so I wanted to try something different.  I should also mention that I wanted to do a midweek long run, about 12 miles.  Pile on the miles, my friends.

The plan?  Central Park —>  Columbus Circle —>  Broadway —> east on 34th St —-> East River Path —->  west on Houston  —->  Hudson River Path —->  Home.  Not a bad run, but probably not the best run for 10:30am on a Wednesday, aka when everyone is out and about, even with the threat of rain.  (Spoiler alert: it didn’t rain!)  While it was fun to try a new route, it was certainly stop and go basically the entire way.  So.  Many.  Stoplights.  And they’re certainly not set at my running pace, ha.  With the slush at every corner, I felt like I was in a steeplechase.  Oops.  Luckily, I didn’t have any goals for pace, so I didn’t totally mind the stop and go other than the run would have been over with much, much faster without it.  Oh well.

image So many pauses, hahahha.

After I reached the East River Path (including eight million streets to cross), I had High School Musical’s “Stick to the Status Quo” in my head…mostly because of these lyrics:


This directly references Central Park, right?

I thought the streets would be a little better to cross, but I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised at all the stop and go.  Ah, well, live and learn.  It was fun to run to mix up my route a bit, even if it involved a few catcalls on Avenue D.

I will say that I wore capris and light long sleeve shirt (and a visor because of the threat of rain!), and I felt 100% comfortable, even warm at times!  It’s amazing how good 40 can feel…

I think I push my luck a bit past 10 miles, as I was definitely feeling it in the last mile.  Somewhere around 12 miles is my limit for not having food/fluids – especially if it starts to get warmer.  (Which it won’t since we’re supposed to get snow again…winter, it’s okay to go now.)  The last quarter mile was rough, but thank you to the drug smoking teenagers who helped direct me over the puddle that was the entrance to the Hudson River Path.  It was like fording the river in Oregon Trail, and both myself and my new running shoes survived.

Wednesday, March 5 – 12.23 miles in 1:36:09, avg pace of 7:52

30 miles in three days – get me a rest day!  Or a day or two of nursing…it’s close, right?

a long weekend of runs + a few more

One of my goals for this training cycle is to make sure to get my runs in as much as possible.  Before, I’ve admittedly used excuses such as traveling, visitors, or work/being tired from work as reasons for not getting my runs in.  Luckily, this time around I’m working day shift (foreverrrrr!), which makes my life in general much easier.

My mom came to NYC to visit from Thursday-Tuesday, and I was off from work Friday-Monday.  While I would love to get in my longer efforts when visitors aren’t here, that’s impossible when working twelve hour shifts.  However, I’m more accustomed to being alive during the day time hours (mornings included!), so it’s much easier to wake up in time to get a run in before we started on our days.  Not having to regularly stay awake until 9am really makes the rest of my life so much better.

So, onto a bunch of runs!

Friday, February 6 – 8.1 miles in 1:02:14, avg pace of 7:41

It was cold.  OH SO COLD.  Pretty sure it was about 14 degrees when I headed out for a run at 8:30-ish, and I was worried about how the cold would feel.  Luckily, I warmed up within a mile and felt great the entire time.  The air was crisp and clear and great to run in.  The park was pretty empty as well, so it was a nice solo run.  I felt pretty comfortable hanging at a 7:40 pace, which I’ll admit is definitely a confidence booster.

Saturday, February 7 – 7.17 miles in 54:00, avg pace of 7:32

A weekend morning in Central Park!  I headed out for seven easy miles – 7:32 pace doesn’t sound like it should feel easy, but it mostly did.  As I rounded out the lower loop, I spotted Baker who was waiting for Abbe to come around on some repeats of the lower loop.  I don’t usually run when the rest of the world does, so it’s fun to run into people.  I stopped and chatted for a bit before moving along.  The run felt comfortable, and I finish it with a 7:11  mile.  Life is good.

Sunday, February 8 – 15.12 miles in 2:01:36, avg pace of 8:03

I figured the West Side Highway might still be icy, so I made my way to Central Park (again…) for some long run loops.  (At 8am!  Look at me running in the morning!)  Two big loops and one loop that didn’t include the lower loop.  I wore my heart rate monitor not so much as to keep my heart rate in a long run zone, but more so to see what the hills of Central Park and running by feel would do to my heart rate.  Central Park is pretty up and down, so I feel as though doing heart rate training might be difficult – although I honestly don’t know much how heart rate training in general.

I did keep an eye on my pace to not get too crazy, hoping to stick between 8:10-8:20-ish.  Which of course means I ended up with more like 8-8:10…oops.  I peeked at my heart rate every once in a while and realized it should probably be lower, but I just went with it.  I felt solid, taking the hills in stride, and zoning out.  I carried my chews with me to practice fueling – two to three chews every couple miles starting around mile five.  I’ll probably start carrying water with me for any distance longer than this – I definitely could feel some dehydration near the end.

Although the hills weren’t so bad, I still counted down until I didn’t have to run up Cat Hill anymore.  On my second time up the hill, I was feeling the incline and wondering if I should take a walk break.  With the best time ever, Ali passed me running in the other direction, and we did the whole “OMG HIIII!!”  thing.  I never know if people want to stop and say hi when this happens, so I said, “Are we stopping??”  So we did.  I haven’t seen her since June (last time we ran into each other…), so we did some catching up (and I got to see her ring!)…it was perfect timing for me, right at the top of Cat Hill and at the halfway mark of my run.  Life is good.

I moved along and the rest of the run was fairly unremarkable – I took it a mile at time, ate my chews, and by about mile 13 I was ready for it to be over, ha.  I like to remind myself that I’ll feel tired at the end of a marathon and I’ll have to keep pushing, so I need to do that in my long runs.  Apparently, I really just wanted it to be over with since I sped up at the finish…

imageSome splits.  Not too shabby.

Monday, February 9 – 5.21 miles in 43:26, avg pace of 8:20

vest  Vest post-run.

I woke up to sleet, but I needed to get my run in.  I was nervous that the sidewalks/streets would be icy and pondered going to the gym, but I haaaaaaate treadmills, so I kept it outside.  I figured this would be an easy run anyway, so I’d just watch my footing and go.  The sidewalks weren’t too bad.  Central Park on the east side was a bit slippery, so I just kept to where tire tracks appeared to be.  The west side was much clearer, which was a welcome change.  The worst part was getting pelted in the face with sleet – definitely was just raining pieces of ice, which I did not enjoy!  My legs felt okay from the long run the day before, so I can’t complain too much.

Wednesday, February 11 – 8.1 miles in 59:43, avg pace of 7:22

Speed work time!!  I decided to do some pace work…two mile warm up, two miles at marathon goal pace, two miles at half marathon goal pace, two mile cool down.  I’m calling marathon goal pace to be about 7:20 and half marathon goal pace around 6:55.  (Ideally it’d be 7:15 and 6:50, but I don’t think I’m in that kind of shape.  Although, perhaps I’m wrong.)

It was much warmer out that I anticipated (and by that I mean 28 and sunny…which seemed really warm), and I was overdressed, especially when running fast warms you up!  I headed to Central Park for some loops of the lower loop – it’s about 1.75 miles per loop, so almost perfect for this workout.  A bit of an incline and decline, but nothing crazy and doing the whole loop would make the splits even.  Tried to keep the warm up easy, but “easy” seemed to be 7:45-ish, so I went with that.  I took comfort in the fact that “marathon pace” would only be about 25 seconds/mile faster than warm up pace, and they did feel quite comfortable.  Ended up at 7:11 and 7:15 despite my best efforts to pull it back to 7:20.

Without stopping, I moved right into half marathon pace and settled into more like 6:45 rather than 6:55…..the pace is a HUGE difference, but I got nervous about slowing down and figured it’d be a good workout.  This was all good until about half a mile to go when I wanted to vomit.  Apparently 6:45 pace is reaching a rough zone for me, and I was definitely feeling it but happy to have pushed through.

image They there, speed work.

I felt like I was crawling through those two cool down miles – amazing how carefree a pace can feel during a warm up and how slow it can feel after the workout!  Please with the effort for this, although I wish 6:45 pace wasn’t so painful.

Jillian Michaels was waiting for me when I got home – went back to Week 1 to get back to the basics.

Thursday, February 12 – 10.09 miles in 1:18:16, avg pace of 7:46

We’re getting to the end, I promise!  I debated how to make this run – it’s hard to get in mileage with my 12 hour work days, so I knew I needed to make it a longer effort.  Ten miles sounded good.  I was on call for SAFE, so I didn’t want to go too far from my apartment – more loops of Central Park!!  Yessss!  (And it means I run with my phone…picture time!)  It was snowing as I left my apartment, which makes for some of my favorite running…this was made even more glorious by the fact that the snow wasn’t sticking to the ground.  While a nice snow accumulation is always nice, a slippery road isn’t, so it’s a win-win when it’s snowing but not sticking.  High five, winter.

The way the snow was falling made it seem like I was running while suspended in the air – it’s hard to explain but it was pretty cool and somewhat disorienting.  The snowflakes were HUGE and I stuck out my tongue to catch a few on my tongue.


The snow stopped after about four miles, which was a little sad, but the rest of the run went smoothly.  My butt felt a little sore after doing squats and such yesterday.  Not enough to mess up my run, but enough that I could feel it…which is why I like the Jillian Michaels videos – I definitely get a workout, but I can still fit it in with my running.  I wasn’t really in the mood to run up the hills, but I worked on giving an even effort up the hill and staying strong when the hill was over.  It’s so easy to let the hill get you and affect you even after you’ve made it, so it’s a good mental trick to play.  Overall the run felt easy except for the last two when I was just ready to be done.

Jillian was waiting for me yet again after the run – Week 2 this time.  Mountain climbers get me every time.  They’re so much harder than they look!  And one of these days I’ll be able to do more than one pushup on my feet.

Annnnnnnnd that’s a wrap!  So many runs – definitely some quality work in there, and it feels great to see some faster paces.

How do you fit in runs when you have visitors/travel/etc?  It was so nice to be able to get up and creep around the apartment before my mom woke up – and to get the run done before we got onto the fun stuff!

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