Sunday, June 14, 2015

running the walkway.

Fourth half marathon in the books. The first ever Walkway Over the Hudson Full/Half Marathon and 5k. It was both awesome and not awesome. Ha!

I had sort of mentally given up a "goal" for this race - partly because I had just run an aggressive 10K six days prior and also because the forecast going into race day was near 80 with 86% humidity and maybe even some bad weather. I wouldn't voluntarily run 13.1 miles under those conditions but I had paid for run I would do. But I would do it slowly. And patiently. And with lots of water.

The weather turned out to be slightly better than anticipated, with it just about 70 degrees at the start with some sunshine and a decent breeze. The breeze helped it from being a miserable run but the temperature still took a toll.

Stretching; photo courtesy of Nina Lei.

Attendance was very strong and there were about 1500 runners at the start. It got a bit congested and the course began with a very steep uphill climb from the banks of the Hudson through the Marist College campus. This made it a little challenging to hit a good stride and get comfortable. Then we made our way through some residential areas until we hit the rail trail. Despite the climbs, I managed to get into a good groove to start. There was an enthusiastic and fun vibe to the crowds and runners.

At about 3.5 miles or so, the leaders of the half had already made the first turnaround and were passing us in the other direction. The entire column of participants began cheering them as they passed. I got a little goosebumpy with it all and was reminded that I just love runners!

Somewhere just after the six mile point, I started to feel a little stitch in my side. It brought me to a walk three times between miles six and nine. At one point, I could have seriously cried because I had been, up to that point, on pace to finish in 2:05 {remember that goal I wasn't setting?}. It was seriously frustrating and evidence of the hotter temps. I did manage to use breathing to bring it under control but it took a lot out of me and I started to feel real fatigue over the last 5K.

Are we done yet?; Photo courtesy of the Poughkeepsie Journal

Initially, when I finished, I was a little grumpy about it, but in retrospect it wasn't terrible. I had a great half in Kingston earlier this spring but wanted to see how I could run when I wasn't running with The Runner {he being speedier than me and a super coach}. I had hoped to finish this race between 2:05 and 2:07 but I know I ran smart by taking a few walk breaks when my body needed it, and I still took three minutes off my last two solo-run half marathons. The spirit of the race was a lot of fun and the course was lovely. It was also special to be a part of the inaugural event.

I will say, though, I'm going to do my best to keep future half-marathons to the Spring and Fall weather because this June business is just not a good look for me!

Monday, June 8, 2015

She flies with her own wings.

A 6' tall runner with feet about one foot long was found to take 1, 250 steps while running a mile. So while covering one mile -5,280 ft.- he was in touch with the ground for only 1,250 feet and airborne for 4,030 feet. 

Put another way, he was in the air for 76% of the time. So don't think of it as a 10 mile run. Think of it as seven miles of flying. -Run The Edge.

Obviously all of those measurements are slightly off given my height, foot size, and race distance...but I officially have a picture of myself in flight. {Thanks to T.S. for the photo!!} 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

10K reboot.

Race Day. Repeat of the 10K. A less than stellar performance in 2014 {59:46} and a point to prove.

1. What an amazingly astounding perfect day. The weather at race time was spectacular and couldn't have been more optimal for running.

2. My kids at the start AND the finish. Yessssss! The Runner came down to do littles duty and made sure they were there for high fives at the beginning of the race, and supplied my very own cheering section in the stands upon my finish.

3. Requisite race day selfie with this lovely lady because love and tradition.

4. Perhaps the greatest race of my life. And I mean that. It felt great right from the very first step. I love this race, and it's the third time I've competed in it {once in the 5K and now twice at the 10K} and it just makes me happy to be a part of it. Last year did not go so well, and it was largely my own fault because I made some poor pre-race choices. This year, I've been running really well, and went into the run with a very positive attitude. I have a half marathon on Saturday, which normally would have been the primary focus, but because I am so satisfied with my half from last month, I decided to go at this 10K with a little more urgency.

I was still in the first mile when I started doing the math to break down my mile goals. Last year I had wanted to break an hour, which I did...but just barely. This year, I wanted to run stronger but still felt that 57-58 minutes was the reasonable expectation. The loftier end of the goal setting would have been around 55 minutes or so. But I'd have had to haul ass. The first couple of miles were smooth and comfortable, but there is a ton of uphill on the first 5K so I didn't want to push too hard and burn out. At the midpoint, I was on pace for a 58 minute finish and felt ok with that. The second half of this race is so, so fast, though {as evidenced by my under-an-hour finish last year despite a 31:00 5K!}, and I knew I could turn it up a bit. There is no time marker at the 4 mile mark and I refused to look at my Garmin. When I hit the 5 mile marker I was, quite literally, dumbfounded to read 45:13. No shit. Actually, my exact outloud words were "You've got to be fucking kidding me". I don't know why. Exaltation makes me say bad words.

And so...I hauled ass. I had 1.2 miles and exactly 10 minutes to do it. That's an 8 minute mile, plus...and I'm a comfy 9:40 runner.

I am an excellent track runner, though, and once we hit the track for the lap, I was able to dig a little deeper. As I rounded the final corner, I could see the clock just turn 55:00. I was racing -- for reals, he was smack talking -- another runner and we both sprinted toward the finish. I crossed ahead of him but I am pretty sure he let me. 55:26. Un-freaking-believable.

5. The best part, I was still lucid enough at the finish to turn and wave toward the kids and The Runner.

6. Those who know me best {and by that I mean the vast majority of my facebook friends} know that I have a major fangirl thing for Kara Goucher. She's a complete badass, and though it still startles me that I now have the brainspace to #wcw on a professional runner, she is aces in my book. I do follow her on the old book of faces and yesterday she posted a video for a song that I had never heard before {cuz y'all know how hip and with it I am}. I checked it out and immediately downloaded it for instant adding to my 10K playlist. Incidentally, it dropped in nearly the exact same spot as "Lose Yourself" did last year, and fueled the second half of my run...once I got my breathing back under control from trying not to cry. This shit is legit, yo.

7. Overall, this was the best playlist I've put together in some time. I took from my "short run" playlist {80 minutes of music} and my "long run" playlist {238 minutes of music} and put together a highly concentrated 66 minute list of pure beast mode. Just in case you're curious, or looking for suggestions, I present to you, the rest of "10K Special"...

Afterlife, Ingrid Michaelson
Between Two Lungs, Florence and the Machine
Calabria 2008, Natasja
A Certain Shade of Green, Incubus
Circle of the Sun, Serena Ryder
Hercules, Sara Bareilles
Into the Wild, LP
Intro, The XX
Let It Go, Frozen 
Levitator, LP
Limbo, Daddy Yankee
Lose Yourself, Eminem
Lover of the Light, Mumford and Sons
Shake It Out, Florence and the Machine
Stronger, Kelly Clarkson
Stompa, Serena Ryder

Saturday, June 6, 2015

a little race.

The past three years, I've taken part in the Orange Classic...first as a 5K runner and then as a 10K participant. This year, I decided it was time to get the kids into the mix with the Kids' Classic. 

L was all in from the beginning. B needed to acclimate himself to the idea...and as you can see was a little resistant to even participating in the warm ups! 

I thought I'd be watching them through the lens of a mother runner but really what struck me throughout the day was L's inclusion into her community. I was as hands-off as I capable of being with her and she was stellar about it. She followed all the directions from the race director and fell in with her peers seamlessly. 

Just to keep it interesting, they ran in different age categories. I split myself as well I could, but part of that means I don't have an actual picture of B running his 100m. Right up to the gun, I wasn't sure he was going to do it. But then he was off...a look of fear, happiness, and determination on his face. He doesn't always take defeat well so I wasn't sure what to expect but he was so over the moon about his medal that he didn't even seem to notice finishing middle of the pack. 

Having learned from B's race, I placed myself mid-track for L and captured, perhaps, the greatest piece of Instagramming in the history of forever. 

I won't lie. I lost it. Sobbing. She was so much very in the lastest place. She one little bit. The joy radiating from her face was miraculous. And long after the other children had all finished their 100m, she ran on. She never slowed, she never walked, she never ever stopped. She's been at the track with me enough for me to know this is a long distance for her to run, but yet there she was. Practically flying. Soaring, even. Just like her Mama. 

After they were done, and had collected their finisher's medals, and their complimentary ice cream, we headed home. Tomorrow is the big people race and I've got a bit of a point to prove. This course made me say some bad words last year and I'd like to teach it a thing or two. And word on the street is, a couple of little runners-in-training will be at the stadium to cheer me across the finish line. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Happy Running Day!

You just know, when you see that title, that today is one of my most favorite days of the year. I had to have a minor medical thing taken care of yesterday, which threw my running schedule off for the week, but it turned out well because typically I don't run on Wednesdays. That've been a damn shame. Especially because 73 degrees and sunny at run time. Whoot! 

In honor of the day, I've looked back at some of my favorite running moments from the past few months. I've taken to running with (a) partner(s), and so my photographic tendencies have been on the decline...but there are still a few popping up here and there! 

From late March when the sun was forcing away those last stubborn patches of winter. 

What it looks like when a much faster marathoner runs with a much slower half marathoner. He's all rock star about it, and I look like I'm dying. But I pr'd by a bunch so who cares! 


Just a few weeks ago, when summer burst forth with a vengeance...the entry way to one of my favorite rail trails. 

And...deep breath. Exhale. So lovely.

Gratuitous Running Selfie. Duh.

And of course, the recent pinnacle of running pretty: The Causeway on Lake Champlain just outside of Burlington...

...And the Burlington Bike Path along the lake's waterfront district. 

Speaking of Burlington, as it is somewhat relevant -- seeing as running brought me to The Runner, who in turn brought me to Burlington on a little vaca/runcation last weekend. And I didn't blog the trip so I will briefly mention now...

...that while there, I found the Lorax's Truffula Trees...

...and the world's tallest filing cabinet. 

Oh, and before I return to running: This. 

From today's beautiful run. Happy Running Day, folks. Because it's the best day. Because it has changed my life. Because it has brought me more than I ever could have imagined. Because my feet bring the rhythm of the Earth and the pounding of my heart into perfect balance. Because the sun shines down and lifts me up. Because I can. Because I get to. Alis Volat Propriis. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

summer bucket list.

Last summer, I watched as a former colleague posted wonderful photos of her and her little boy partaking of joyful adventures...each labeled with a bucket list number. Checking off the items, quantifying the memories, stuffing those precious sunlight-filled childhood memories with all the happy. 

I want that. 

They deserve that. My two littles have mastered the past 18 months like tiny bosses. They have adjusted, adapted, loved whole-heartedly, and accepted this new reality with so very few hiccups. I'm so incredibly proud of them, of M, and of myself. I want to spend this summer working on some new memories. 

Already in a few hours some new items were added to the list. B wants to play every sport under the sun: baseball, basketball, soccer, frisbee. L wants to cook dinner one night. They both want to go on a hike. They can't wait to be in charge for a day. 

It's gonna be an awesome summer. #summer2015bucketlist 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

fall down seven times, stand up eight.

I snatched this title from a Japanese proverb because as I celebrate my eighth Mother's Day, it seems only fitting.

Motherhood, man. It has been a trip. And sometimes I feel as if I've performed very, very poorly. I've spent hours sobbing into my pillow, or the Kleenex in my therapist's office, or onto the shoulders of my most trusted emissaries as I've struggled with my identity as a mother. Should I even have ever had the audacity to attempt to become one. I work with 18-22 year olds, predominantly. And often, my young ladies will tell me they aren't sure they ever wish to become mothers. I've often replied, "I haven't decided yet either." I wish it wasn't so true. 

I'm impatient. And I'm selfish. And I get easily overwhelmed and frustrated and irritated. I get like this...

I want what I want when I want it and my children do not give a singular fuck about that. And for all my "Welcome to Holland" traipsing through the tulips "L has taught me to slow down and enjoy the journey" that I try soooooo very hard to embody, the truth is, when it takes her 27 minutes to use the ladies' room or she spills all of her food all over her entire self again, I could scream. Or when my boy is also slightly inconvenienced and hungry and you suddenly have two irrational beasts attempting to out tantrum each other. {and for the record, I am the other one}

Motherhood has been so difficult and it hasn't come naturally to me and if you've been reading here for some time you already know that. And so for the past seven Mother's Days, I've been far more concerned about the presents coming my way, figuring out how to NOT spend all day with my creatures, and sleeping in until at least some number closer to double digits than usual...and less so about the actual job of mothering for which I'm being "honored". 

Of course. It's a new year. And a new kind of Mother's Day. My eighth one. And I've got this new lifey thing kind of happening and this year, it felt good and earned and it felt like it was all about them. I feel like life in The Penthouse has made me a mom in a way I never was before. I have noticed (and written) about this from time to time over the past 18 months, but this day sort of felt like the culmination of the process, despite it's general Hallmarky schmaltz. I wasn't even pissed when L woke me up by climbing into bed with me at 6:30am. I mean, how could I be? It was following the suit of this entire weekend...

...Friday, quick pulled pork dinner and a trip to Toys R Us to buy outdoor toys with stashed away birthday/Christmas money. 

cuz this should totally last more than 15 minutes, right?

...Saturday, breakfast, a trip to the track where they again let me get four miles of running in before a rewarding trip to the playground where B did his best baby American Ninja Warrior impression on the jungle gym. Showers, chill out time {B and I learned how to fly his new glider. unscathed.} and then dinner with my mama and her mama and my daddy and my sister and my little-r niece. 

freckles. sigh.

...Sunday, 6:30 wake up call, handmade gifts, yoga and free babysitting by The Runner and JT {during which time the kids played wiffleball and I got to go for a balmy run}. And lunch, which looked like a disaster when a persistent bee met L's phobia and the hysterics were for real...but some minor adjustments and suddenly we were all picnic in the park about it. My big blanket. Watching his cub and my cubs bond. Ice cream. So much love. All of the love. 

this does not suck. at all.

At this very moment, they are tucked in their beds, I am sitting on my front porch with an adult beverage and nighttime sounds, and I feel like a mom. I was reminded to take a moment and recognize that I've got happy, healthy, fantastic children...and that I am part of the reason for that. I was called brave and spectacular. 

I make about 456,324,323,234 mistakes per day with them {sometimes before breakfast even}. I ask them daily to grant me patience. They show me their grace with tiny arms around my neck and soft kisses. 

I'll never be perfect at this gig. Not ever. Because of all the selfish, impatient, hangry stuff listed above. I am glad I've got such wonderful teachers, though, because they are nothing but delicious amazements. 

Happy Mother's Day to everyone celebrating, or reflecting, in whatever way best serves you. And for perhaps, the very first time ever, Happy Mother's Day, to me.