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All Gave Some, Some Gave All

11 Sep

To say that life has been hectic lately is a bit of an understatement. I interviewed for and was offered an amazing, awesome, made for me job – that’s unpaid. After frantically trying to figure out how I was going to pay for it, I discovered that my school will offer me a small stipend. Not quite enough to live on but enough to let me take the position. Now all I need to do is get my security clearance and then I’ll officially be part of the workforce again! Woohoo! Add to that moving and couch surfing and it’s been emotionally & physically exhausting.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my life would be different if I had made some different choices. But I never really think about the things I didn’t do – the things I had no say in. My father is a 30 year veteran of the FDNY. He was at the World Trade Center 10 years ago. He came home that day, but 343 of his brothers didn’t. Whenever I am tired or stressed, nervous or excited, happy or miserable, I call my Dad. I cannot imagine what my world would be like without him and I am thankful today and every day that he came home that day.

In honor of today, I participated in the LA County Tunnel to Towers 5k out in Pomona today. I haven’t run a 5k in 4 years and to be honest I wasn’t sure I knew how. I always start my runs slow because I live in constant fear of burning out halfway through a run [seriously, constant]. Obviously,that’s not how you run a 5k. I figured I’d shoot for a 10 min./mile, since I’ve been doing my long runs at a 10:30/11ish pace.

Well. I spent a solid chunk of the first mile weaving in and out of slower runners/walkers. It was a fairly small group and I probably ended up starting a little too far back but I didn’t want to be one of “those” people the speedy Gonzaleses (s’?) complain about. I hit the first mile at 10:04 and thought, “I can go faster.” So I did.

Moral of the story: Every mile was faster than the one before, there was a hill around mile 2.5 that I powered through like a champ [if I do say so myself] and I finished in 29:11. I’m super pleased with it. I was completely drained last night and very seriously contemplated not running. I called my Dad and he persuaded me it might be exactly what I needed to clear my head and refocus my energy.

So I ran. I ran because my Dad told me to and I ran because he’s still here to tell me to.

>2-a-Day

28 Feb

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Workout:
Morning: 2 mi. run outside 19:47
Evening: 7 mi. treadmill .5 incline 68:47

Um, hi. Let’s talk about this for a second. I ran TWICE today. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty impressed with myself. Now, it should be noted that I absolutely did NOT intend to break my workout this way. I had 7 miles on the schedule for this weekend. I may or may not have been too hungover yesterday to manage (sometimes martinis are too delicious to pass up) so I knew I was going to have to get it in today before I had to be at a training session at 10 am. I carbo loaded with some delicious pasta (the first time I’ve had pasta in a really long time) and a little red wine (not the first time I’ve had red wine in a really long time) and was tucked into bed by 1030 pm. Excellent …

Except. I meant to set my alarm for 645, be out the door by 7 and by home by 830 or so – plenty of time to shower and get ready. Well. You can, therefore, imagine my surprise when my alarm went of at 745, not 645. Crap. That would definitely NOT be enough time to run 7 miles. Knowing that I was technically still “injured,” even if I felt awesome, I didn’t want to push too hard and hurt myself. I decided to run 3 or 4 miles and finish the rest when I finished training. Well. As soon as I started running I knew that wasn’t going to happen. My legs felt heavy, my chest was burning and I just did. not. want. At 2 miles I passed my house and bailed. I was hoping to get 5 miles in when I got home but I wasn’t optimistic.

By the time I got home from training it was after 5 (yes, it was absolutely the longest day ever. ugh.). I didn’t particularly relish the idea of running outside and ending my run in the dark, but I didn’t want to run 5 miles on the treadmill. By the time I carefully weighed my options (aka stalked facebook for a while) it was already dark out. Since I’m a magnet for cars in the dark (I have the scars to prove it!), my only real option was the gym. I reluctantly headed out, figuring at least it would be empty while the Oscars were going on. I hopped on the treadmill, figuring I’d run my 5 as fast as I could and be out of there. But while I was running I got to thinking. I was supposed to run 7 consecutive miles today. If I was really serious about running a half in May (and I’m 90% certain I am) I wasn’t going to be able to run half of it in the morning, take an 8 hour break, and then run the second half in the afternoon. So I decided to just stay on for the whole 7 miles. This was definitely easier said than done. The time limit on the treadmill was 60 minutes (are there treadmills in this world that go longer? There must be, right?) and I knew it would take me longer than that to run 7 miles. I thought about splitting it up 3 and 4 or 5 and 2 but I kind of wanted to see that 7 on the display. I figured if I could average a 10 min. mile I could finish in under 70 minutes (the 60 minute limit + the 10 minute cooldown). I did a 1 mile warmup at 5.5 and then just took off. Everything about the run felt amazing. At the start of the last mile “One For My Baby (And One More For the Road)” came on my iPod and I knew I’d finish. The cooldown period was less than awesome because I had to keep fiddling with the speed, but I finished it and it was amazing. This was the run I wish I had had last weekend (and absolutely no leg pain at all! I may or may not want to marry my physical therapist).

It looked a little something like this (for those of you keeping score at home).

I really couldn’t be more pleased with my run tonight. It makes me feel so strong and accomplished and awesome, which is what I really needed after a bit of a demoralizing, confidence-busting sort of week (I may or may not have had an existential crisis about what I’m doing with my life). The decision to do the full 7 miles was the best one I’ve made in a long time. Now I’m enjoying some left over pasta, some red wine, a very much needed foam roll and the dvr-ed Oscars.

Have you ever done 2 runs in one day? How do you feel about breaking up long runs?

>And You Wonder Where I Get It From

18 Feb

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Text I just received from my Dad:

You should be running your warmups at 9:30 with your runs at 830/845 – 930 for the long runs.

Bad influence much?

>Identity Crisis

18 Feb

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Workout:
2.5 miles – 23:24 [aka super fast awesome all star]
How do you know you’re a runner? I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately. Yes, I’ve completed a ½ marathon (slowly and with an unbelievable amount of IT Band pain, but I finished). Still, even crossing the finish line, I don’t know that I’d have called myself a “runner.” I’ve never been athletic. I fall down. Like, a lot. I never really played sports or was particularly active. When I first started running almost 4 years ago, a friend of mine suggested we run a 5k together to lose some of our post-college chub. I ran the 5k in a whopping 39:45. But I was hooked. I started training for the Brooklyn ½ Marathon but then got sidelined by bronchitis halfway through my training and never recovered.  After that, I kept running my short runs, but didn’t really increase my distance in any measurable way. Then I started law school which, in case anyone was wondering, completely takes over your life. I pretty much stopped running altogether for about 2 years.
After a bad breakup last year, I was looking for something to keep me occupied. A friend of mine was training for a fall ½ marathon and suggested I run it too. I remembered how awesome running had once upon a time made me feel and gave it a shot. But I definitely cheated my way through my training. I focused almost exclusively on long runs and completely skipped my weekday runs. As a result, I really aggravated my IT Band. It first started flaring up about 2 weeks before the race, but I was determined to run anyway. So, I carried my right knee through the last 8 miles, finished in just over 3 hours and was sidelined for almost 3 months. Gross.
Now I’m back to running 4 days a week, feeling great, getting faster – but I still wouldn’t call myself a “runner.” Runners are tall and skinny and fast. I’m short with some junk in my trunk and SLOOOOW. Runners feel confident running their short weekday runs, I get nervous I won’t finish my 2 miles EVERY. TIME. I have all the running gear – Henry the Garmin, my amazing compression socks/leg warmers – but I feel like a sham every time I open a Gu packet. Real runners need Gus. I’m not working hard enough to require that kind of fuel. I cried crossing the finish line of my 1/2 marathon – partly out of pain, but mostly out of disappointment. This wasn’t the triumphant feeling of “Finally, I’m a real runner!” I had expected. Maybe I’ll feel it after my next 1/2 marathon (Oh, I didn’t tell you about that? Yeah, more later). Maybe I’ll feel it after my potential-possibly-to-be-run full marathon. Maybe I’ll never feel it. Maybe that’s ok.
I think part of it definitely has to do with how many running blogs I read. It’s definitely amazing to see all of your achievements and I’m completely in awe of each and every one of you! But every time I read about your super speedy, super long, super easy runs, it definitely makes my “fast” or “long” runs seem pretty insignificant. I just have to keep remember that it’s TOTALLY awesome that I ran an 8:48 mile tonight and it’s TOTALLY awesome that I’m going to run 6 whole miles this weekend. And it’s TOTALLY awesome that my Bic Bands came, so I’ll look adorable doing it 🙂
Also, let’s talk about how I’m going on my long run on Saturday with a GROUP of beautiful fabulous ladies I met on the internetz who can run circles around me. Um, eep much? Yeah, let’s not think about that right now.
Are you a runner? How do you know?

>Don’t Rain On My Parade

17 Feb

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Workout:
2 mi. 19:12
I woke up this morning to the pitter patter of little raindrops on my window. In Los Angeles. Ew. This is not why I moved to southern California. Hear that weather gods? Not ok. I was casually aware that it might rain this morning and I had sort of laid out my running clothes accordingly. I thought maybe, just maybe, I’ll be hardcore and go running outside in the rain. My sister is training for her first ½ marathon in New Jersey and has been fighting the cold and snow all winter, so I totally understand that I am very spoiled living in SoCal. If she can run in snow and ice, I can run in rain … right?
Well. When I woke up, the rain was pounding my window. Now, admittedly, there’s a very large tree right outside my window that tends to make the weather seem more severe than it is. The leaves and branches rattle against the window and kind of freak me out. My bed was warm and cuddly, Moondoggie was over and my body just wasn’t having it. I snuggled back in bed and decided I would head to the gym in between classes. It was great – I got to sleep in extra late because all I had to do to get ready for school was throw on gym clothes. Score!
Fast forward 3 hours and 2 cups of coffee later [Hi, I’m Gidget and I’m a coffee addict]. As I was driving to the gym(and literally passing the exit to my house on the freeway), the clouds parted, the rain stopped and the sun came out. Sign that I should get off and run outside? Absolutely! I raced home to take advantage of the break in the weather. I already had my running clothes on, so it should have been as simple as grabbing Henry and heading out the door … except that I’m the world’s greatest procrastinator. I mean, I had to do my stretches. And tweet about my fabulous luck. And maybe read a blog or 2 for motivation. So, 30 minutes later, my beautiful weather window was fading fast. I had been hoping to run this at about a 10:30 pace, but as I stepped outside and same the ominous black clouds closing in fast, I made the determination that maybe I should just run as fast as possible. I was feeling pretty good for a while, but then it started to rain. Not awesome. And get windy. We’re talking really windy. I was having a really hard time catching my breath, but I hadn’t dressed for the rain (because not only am I a procrastinator, I’m an idiot). I didn’t want to be out any longer than I had to. So I just kept running – and running fast. Henry says my first mile was 9:48 and my second mile was 9:11. I’m unbelievably shocked at how fast I ran this. AND my knees didn’t hurt at all! My calves are kind of sore, not in a shin splint-y sort of way, but in a holy crap, I pushed myself! sort of way. This is actually the first time in a long time that my muscles have hurt from running, so I’m pretty pleased with it. I kind of love that I’m going so far out of my comfort zone!
It’s supposed to rain for the rest of the week [Again, weather gods take note, not ok] but there seems to be another small window of sunshine tomorrow morning, so I’m hoping to get in 2 miles in the morning. If not, it’s going to be another late night treadmill run [gross].
Has the weather ever motivated you to run faster? How do you push yourself out of your comfort zone?

>Speedy McSpeederson

14 Feb

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Workout:
2 miles – 19:40
Potential dance class later (?)

I was more than a little sluggish this morning after a weekend of too much food and too much wine and too much sun. I realized that I had never turned my Garmin off after Saturday’s “long” run and it was out of battery. Crap. I knew that if I waited for it to charge I’d never make it out of the house. So, off to the gym I went.

I used to love doing my runs on the treadmill. I’m mildly [read: exceptionally] anal about distance and pace and knowing exactly how fast and how far I’m going. For a long time, the treadmill was the only way to ensure that my numbers were accurate. Sure, I had a digital watch with a timer to determine my overall time and Google maps to get my distance, but I knew it wasn’t 100% accurate. Then, I met my friend Henry. My sister gave me Henry, my Garmin, for Christmas this year and let me tell you, I am obsessed. I love tracking my pace and distance in real time, seeing the various different graphs when I sync him to my computer and really just everything about him. I’ve run almost all of my runs since I got him outside and it’s been pretty awesome. My knees aren’t hurting as much (I think this probably has to do with the way I change my form on the treadmill) and I feel like I’m becoming a much stronger runner.

Which leads me to this morning’s run. I thought I’d love being back on the treadmill again. Thursday night I ran on the treadmill and it felt great to just run and not think – not look for cars or stop lights or yappy dogs. Today was nothing like that. I knew that the gym in the morning was going to be more crowded than I wanted it to be. I knew I was going to be annoyed by the old ladies who walk on the treadmills and talk on their cell phones while I wait (not so) patiently for one to open up. Maybe it was this mentality that was the problem. Maybe it was that I spent an awesome weekend outside in gorgeous southern California weather and I didn’t want to be inside. Either way, I was in trouble. I hopped on the treadmill after a 10 minute wait and immediately, I was bored. Like, really bored. Like, counting the seconds bored. I really wanted to be running, I just didn’t want to be running on the treadmill. I knew I wanted to get 2 miles in, but at the rate I was going, I wasn’t going to make it for .2 miles. So I decided to go fast. Really fast.* I ran my first mile in 10:15 and my second in 9:25. What’s that? You think that’s a typo? Nope. That’s a 9ish minute mile. The great thing about it was that I didn’t feel bad. I wasn’t exceptionally out of breath, my legs weren’t super tired. I felt like I do after every 2 mile run – a little sad it’s over so soon, a little pleased it’s done, a little red in the face (it’s a thing – I get really red when I exercise, even a little bit. People stop and ask me if I’m ok. Yes, I’m fine, I’m just very pale). I’m not sure where all of this speed is coming from, but I’m definitely not going to complain!

*Note: Yes, I realize this is not actually really fast. No, I do not care. It’s really fast for me, and that’s what counts.

>A Nice Little Monday

7 Feb

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I sat around for a solid 45 minutes this morning after Moondoggie left, in my running clothes, willing myself to get up and out. Last night while watching the Super Bowl, I ended up doing a ton of random exercises … abs, arms, legs, whatever I was feeling. I was in a bad place and felt like I needed to sweat it out (more on that in a later post, up today I hope!). I don’t usually do a ton of strength work, so that led to one sore Gidget this morning.
When I started my run, Henry the Garmin was being all wonky. I have it set to auto-pause if I go slower than 20 min. miles (because that probably means I’m stopped at a light somewhere) and it kept auto-pausing and auto-resuming for the first ½ mile or so. This is a route I run all the time, so thankfully I wasn’t really worried about screwing up my distance, but because it wasn’t registering my distance right it wasn’t registering my pace right either. I couldn’t figure out how fast I was going, but I knew it was too fast. I tried to pull back but I soon realized that I could finish the 2 miles in under 20 minutes. Now, most of you out there in the running blog world are super speedy (even if you think you aren’t!), but I really am legitimately slow. I have NEVER run a mile at a 10 min. pace, let alone 2! I kicked it up as high as I could and while my Garmin claims I did 2 miles in 20:46, the dailymile.com map says I did 2.11 miles in 20:46, so I’m obviously going with that number! Huzzah!
I was then uber-productive, going grocery shopping and buying fancy new shoes (that’s productivity, right?). Then I popped into the office for a bit (on my off day, because I’m that cool) and am now “reading” for class later. My left knee is feeling a little IT Band-twingy. I’ll have to ice/stretch/roll when I get home. I’m supposed to go to dance class tonight but I may skip it. Last week we did a lot of moves that made my knees not love me the next day and I’d rather not take that chance.
Also, I think I’m starting Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred tonight. Has anyone ever tried it? I’m sure it’s ridiculously hardcore. I’m trying to amp up my weight loss goals a little and I really want to work on adding some strength training into my routine. What kind of strength training do you do?