Friday, July 30, 2010

Marathon Long Training Run #1

Going to Central Park for a 7am long run seems ridiculous when I could just as well run near here at whatever time I want. Having to deal with the MTA's increased weekend flakiness does not making the run easier. Nor does it help to have to get up even earlier on a Sunday.

Getting to the start line is half the battle. There's the sleepless night of tossing and turning followed by feeling tired in the morning and wondering if it's such a good idea. Can't possibly run without having slept well! For anything under 10k, I don't have this feeling anymore. But I probably should assume I'm not going to sleep on November 6th, and I probably won't get much sleep on November 5th either.

Though I am pretty easy going and I'm calm when dealing with emergencies, I'm the excitable type. By that I mean I let myself get excited by anything and everything I want to do, eat, or see, to the point where I sometimes am unable to sleep or make myself sick. I get so pumped with energy I could give any Christmas day kid a run for his money.

In order to practice trying no to be too crazy on marathon day, I decided it would be good for me to do the NYRR Marathon Long Training runs. It's going well. I'm all psyched for this weekend's run. I'll try my best to get a good night's rest on Saturday, but I won't make any promises for who can sleep with the prospect of an official long run?

What makes this exciting?
I'll get to run with a pack
Though I love running on my own, the running with a pack gives me a thrill and it will feel more like a race

I'll be on a measured course
Since I don't run with any gadgets besides a watch, I never know exactly how far I've run and thus don't know my pace. Though I feel like I've gotten faster, I don't know if this is true and I don't know what my pace should be for the marathon. It's time to start figuring that out.

There's support
Water and gatorade stops! Misting stations! Nathan is annoyed that I'm not bringing him, but I think it's good for him to rest. With fluids provided and a bag check, I'll be fine with what I can carry in my pocket. Having misting stations means this weekend I won't have to deal with the glares of parents for my running through playground sprinklers.

There's more support!
When I signed up I hoped I'd get to meet people, whether they ran at my pace or not. Since then, I've discovered the power of twitter, and now I have plans to meet some twitterfolk before the run. Better yet, it looks like one of them might run at about the same pace as me! We'll see. Either way, it's only Friday and I'm already excited enough that I didn't sleep well last night.

Yup. It's Christmas day and this marathon training is going to be full of them!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Getting Started

Instead of its usual spammy offerings, my mailbox had a real treat for me yesterday. When I got home, NYRR's "Get Started Guide" to the 2010 New York City Marathon was waiting for me.

Maybe it's just that I'm a child of the 20th century, but there's something about print that makes things more real. There's part of me that mistrusts the cloud. Things can go wrong and get accidentally deleted - a sneeze and a click and poof! Files are gone. Tech-heroes can step in and make things right, but without their super tech-savvy powers, when something goes wrong I'm a damsel in distress trapped in a tower guarded by a byte-chomping dragon and a wi-fi blocking moat.

Which is why even though I'm in the NYC marathon and have known I was in since last year when I completed the 9+1 program, part of me didn't quite believe it.

Until yesterday. A blue and orange pamphlet in my mailbox made i t all real. It let me know with goosebumps that all that training was for something concrete: the 2010 New York City Marathon.

The guide includes useful information like a link to the MTA, lists of official hotels, and discounts to Mary Poppins on Broadway: information I don't need. Except for the medical and training sections, it was all irrelevant for New Yorkers. I still read it all front to back.

Getting to see the race week schedule set me off with orange fizzy feelings because getting an official printed guide is not the same as getting the weekly "On Course" emails.

Print made it real. I'm in.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New training device

Last weekend I installed a new training device. I'd had it for a while, but it had taken some time to figure out the best way to install it. After deciding to go for a 2x6 crossbar that would be attached to two studs, it was just a matter of taking the time to install it properly so it would be sturdy and the weight would be distributed properly. I decided to put it on carabiner hooks that attached to eye hooks, so I could take it down and put it back up without having to deal with knots.

After much measuring, drilling, torquing, and knot tying (bowline), the hammock was ready to be hung.

There are many health benefits attributed to hammock use, from ease of neck and back pain, to improved concentration. One thing is for sure: it's hard to remain tense on a hammock - how can you be tense when you're floating and rocking softly?

In the past week, I've enjoyed lying on the hammock after runs; it's a great way to keep your feet elevated.

Two friends came to check it out and test it last Saturday. The hammock passed inspection, but they were curious about where I had gotten the idea of installing a hammock in my apartment.

An indoor hammock? As long time readers might now, it's not a very original idea where I'm from.

Hammock sandwich with my cousins circa 1986. Can you tell which one I am?

8M Loop to Red Hook & Dumbo

Easy recovery week as I get ready to bump up mileage next week with NYRR's Marathon Long Distance Training Run #1 next weekend. I wasn't just recovering from running, but also from a nasty summer cold.

I meant to take the promenade, but spaced out and ended up under the BQE, which was shady and breeze. Not a bad thing on such a hot summer day, but I don't recommend it for an evening run since it would probably be deserted then.

This run features a sprinkler.

8M Loop to Red Hook & Dumbo

*There's not much shade along Columbia, but you're running on a path along the water.
*When you get to Atlantic, make a left and take a detour through part of the new Brooklyn Bridge Park: you'll be rewarded with a great sprinkler.
*That 2 block stretch on Hicks is a fun steep hill.
*I was weaving around Brooklyn Heights looking a deli I couldn't quite remember. I was coconut water hunting.
*There were water fountains along the way, but I forgot to note exactly where as I was relying on the electrolyte stuff for this one. There is probably one near the playground on Atlantic. There is another at Cadman Plaza near the running path where it would intersect with Clark Street.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

7.3M to Bayridge

Here's one of my favorite running routes. In the past few months I've done many versions of this in both directions and it's a fun run. Running by the water is always a pleasure, particularly on hot days. Even though Bayridge is not that far, running to Bayridge sounds far, and it makes me feel more badass.

Besides, the Verrazano is a beauty and getting to see it up close is a good reminder of what I'm working towards.

7.3M to Bayridge

*The little loop in Owl's Head Park is a fun hill. It's steep but short, with a view at the top.
*There's a water fountain right where you enter the path by the water.
*If you pass under the Verrazano you've gone too far and you'll end up in Bensonhurst.
*The end point for this route is the 95th St stop on the R train. There are delis nearby for handy snack/drink procurement for the ride back.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Being doubly watched

Apparently, now that I've had a new watch for a little over a month, it was safe for the old one to turn up. As those of you who've been reading for a while know, I had lost it when coming back from running a 24hr relay from Woodstock to NY.

Running the Ragnar relay was intense, and poor Watch had to work overtime. There was no resting. There was no moment when time didn't matter. Except for a nap under the stars from about 2:30am to 5am or so, it was always go, go, go. Go run. Go cheer. Go to the next check point. Go meet the other van and lend them a runner. Go get lost. Go find a decent a toilet. Go lounge under trees. Go run.

Upon our return, I went out for pizza with Lizz and left Watch to rest. When I came back Watch had disappeared without a trace.

As the days turned into weeks of my sitting by the window hoping Watch would appear, I began to lose hope. Running without a watch was not ideal, so I got Another Watch.

Last weekend I had to move furniture around while getting ready to install some equipment that will aid my marathon training. There it was: Watch.

So now I have two. I might have to run with one on each wrist.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

11 Miles

Behold the technological marvel of pen, paper, and pins. It doesn't calculate my pace, and it doesn't tell me where I am, but it did make my run a ton easier. Until I finally get an android (thoughts? recommendations? I'm thinking Android X, but I'm clueless about all this stuff. Also, I love qwertys but it seems the better phones don't have them) this little device not only kept me from getting lost - I wasn't lost last time, I just thought I was - but since it had my mile markers I could easily calculate where my next turn should be without second guessing myself.

Highly recommended, customizable, and budget friendly. Since I got Nathan I've been avoiding Prospect Park for most of my long runs. I love the park, but it gets crowded on weekends. Add bike races to the mix and it gets dangerous. Running around in circles doesn't work for me for long runs; the temptation to head home is too strong. Besides, I like having destinations.

From now on, I'll start sharing the routes of these long runs here as a resource for other South Brooklyn runners. Most runs will start from Bartel Pritchard Square and end either back there or near public transportation. Will try to catch up and post some of the past ones. The routes are modifiable so you can edit and map to accomodate length & starting point. (Click on the link, not the map. Look for the pen and paper icon to edit.)

Here's 11Miles To Williamsburg

* The entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge is on Bedford Ave. Runners on the south side of the bridge, bikers on the north.
* After crossing the bridge and on the way to the East River Park there's a sweet little playground on Columbia and Delancey - south side of the street. Good water fountain plus the sprinkler was on today. Score! A few senior citizens looked baffled as I shrieked while running through it.
* When you get off the Brooklyn Bridge there's a water fountain right as you enter Cadman Plaza.
* Cadman Plaza has a cushy rubbery path that that will give you that extra bounce you need to finish these 11Miles.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Maltodextrin vs Brown Rice Syrup, or life after the World Cup

It turns out most runners can tolerate one or the other, but not both. Only one can make you champion. If.

When you're planning on running for about five hours, the question of how to fuel yourself while doing so becomes important. It's not about which gel or supplement will make you faster, tougher or badasser, it's which gel, supplement or food won't send you running to the nearest port-a-potty or give you a stomach ache.

While running, maltodextrin makes me run faster but only in one direction: to the nearest toilet. I need something more versatile. Clif makes brown rice syrup based products - I love their shot blocks - but I'm still not having enough and what little I have tends to give me a stomach ache.

It might be a matter of training myself to eat while running, so I dutifully force myself to chew. You're supposed to have three blocks per hour of running. I've managed to have two in two hours of running and I still get a stomach ache. I'm trying to figure out if I'll fare better with actual food, but the problem is carrying enough of it during runs that go over two hours which is where I am right now in my training. I'm thinking of trying olives and brazil nuts soon or maybe trying to drink my calories.

But until I figure that out, I'll stay with Clif.

I'm guessing bars and gels work better when you're doing other things like swimming or biking. I'll keep that in mind when I do a triathlon.

Doesn't that sound like fun? I love running, I love biking, and - little known fact - I'm a strong swimmer. Actually, I'm probably better at swimming than either running or biking since that's the only one where I've had formal training. My brother was a much stronger swimmer; he competed at the national level. I stuck to the regional level but I was good and my mom still has the medals to prove it.

And triathlon training just looks like a lot of fun, don't you think?

PS. Does anyone want a couple of GU energy gel packets? I won't be needing those.