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!

yasso 800’s, times four

Well, my goodness.  I wrote yesterday’s post about how I feel about blogging these days as a result of some pent up frustration about the blog world.  I didn’t really expect much from it other than to talk about how I look at blogging and maybe what readers can expect from me.  As it turns out, I’m not the only one with these feelings about the shift in blogging, and it means so much to me that so many people came out of the woodwork to agree and share their thoughts.  And I got to check out some of your blogs that I will be adding to my reader as continue to weed out the blogs I simply don’t enjoy reading anymore.  Life is too short to read about someone’s breakfast every single day.

I don’t promise to never do a product review or to never share my favorite races or not to give the reason why I love running without music, but I am always honest – honesty is always the best policy, and the truth is I’m here to share my love of running…and it’s something I truly do love.

On that note, onto my run!  Work was busy the last two days with lots of running around.  Per my Fit Bit, I took 18,000 and 15,000 steps in the past two days, and that’s with no running!  Whew.  I tried to stay up last night to watch Ellen Degeneres on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (I love Ellen and Jimmy Fallon, so it was the ultimate combination), but I couldn’t keep my eyes open and fell asleep during the commercials.  Thank you to Eric for waking me up when the show was back on.  Needless to say, I was definitely tired come morning, but I knew I needed to get a workout in.

After checking to see how windy it was (8mph, not so bad), I decided to head to the Hudson River Path to do some speed work.  If it’s a windy day, speed work gets extra challenging with the wind at your back in one direction and in your face in the other direction.  It’s been a bit chilly here lately (16 degrees yesterday!), but got up into the high 30’s, so I had high hopes the ice would melt.  After slip-sliding a bit on the sidewalk, I held out hope that the river path would be clear.  Well, spoiler alert…

photo 2 (28)

Ice everywhere.  Oddly enough, a guy was riding his bike on this…I’m not sure how, but just this view was enough to make me turn around and head to Central Park, which was much more likely to have some clear streets.  Luckily this was part of my warm up, so I took it easy on the ice and avoided SO MANY PEDESTRIANS en route to the park.

My plans was to essentially do Yasso 800’s – I can’t say I’ve ever done them religiously so I can’t confirm or deny that they predict a marathon finish time, but I like the idea of the workout.  Plus, many people recommended 800 or mile repeats as their favorite speed workouts, so win-win.  I like 800’s because they’re long enough to test you, but short enough that you really get to push the pace yet still hold on.  I know I’ve done 800 repeats in 3:00-3:10-ish before, but I still know I’m not in my best shape, so my goal was 4 x 800 in 3:10-3:15.  (With 3:15 rest.)  Central Park has plenty of hills, so I stuck to the lower loop which has some inclines and declines, but not enough to take the wind out of your sails.

I finished my warm up and got ready to go – right when my phone rang.  Although I never ru with my phone, I have to when I’m call as a SAFE (sexual assault forensic examiner), and my heart definitely skips a beat when my phone rings.  Luckily, it was my mom, so I did a quick “Hi I’m running talk to you later!” and tucked my phone back into my sleeve.  It’s go time, and my heart rate is already up.

photo 1 (29)Some clear paths for running!  Or, mostly clear, we shall say.  Excellent.

I took off for my first repeat and felt like I was sprinting.  It was slightly uphill, and I initially couldn’t get my pace below 6:50, and I panicked about whether or not I could hit pace.  I told myself to calm down and just push…the pace will drop eventually.  I counted down the seconds (never a good idea) and wrapped up the first repeat in 3:14…it felt much harder than I thought it should, and I got nervous for the rest of the workout…and happy that I only had three more to go!

The second repeat wasn’t so bad considering that it started downhill, and I hit it in 3:10.  The good life, my friends.  The third repeat was back up that hill again – not so easy.  Sometimes my stomach gets odd cramps when I’m working hard, and it’s been awhile since I felt them.  I definitely felt like I was almost at a sprint, and I kept telling myself to slow my breathing.  Count my steps.  It’s only one more minute.  And then one more repeat.  3:13, check.

Next up:  Repeat #4.  For the first half of the repeat, I couldn’t get my pace down below 6:40, so I really had to push in the back half.  Luckily it was a bit on a downhill, but it didn’t help much overall and I was moving my legs with everything I had and felt like my stomach had had enough.  Hello there, puke factor, please stay away.  With about fifteen seconds to go, I said out loud, “COME ON SUSAN” (I didn’t yell it, although the capital letters would make you think I did…), which usually means, “Come on watch, beep!  Tell me this repeat is over!”  Right left right left right left DONE DONE DONE.  3:12 and I worked for every second of that.


I’m not sure what your heart rate is supposed to be during these repeats, but 187 sounds really fast to this ICU nurse.  (Can I get some metoprolol, please?  Just kidding just kidding…)  I cooled down around the park, impressed with how 8:15 pace could feel so comfortable on Sunday’s long run and like such a slog today!  I’m excited to improve on these times over the course of training…and hopefully my pace will drop and this pace will feel easier!

When I got home, I called my mom back (I’m a good daughter, for the most part), and then I did Ripped in 30 Week 2.  I almost went back to Week 1 because Week 2 is hard, but the only way to improve is to work on what’s hard…right?  So I pushed through and some of the exercises definitely felt easier than last time.  The combination of plank jacks (which I modify with a toe touch) and mountain climbers (omg so hard) really kills me.  Just getting my butt kicked left and right today…

Back to work tomorrow, and my mom arrives for a weekend in New York City!  We’ve got some fun activities planned, so I’m looking forward to some mom-daughter time.

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