Friday, September 28, 2012
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Do you need to squeeze running into an already tight schedule in order to stay sane?
Do you find yourself stumbling to the train at dawn on Saturdays & Sundays when others are stumbling home because you need to get to a race in Central Park and have to compensate for the weekend's inevitable MTA service changes?
Would get more turned on by a special discount at Jack Rabbit than a sale at Victoria's Secret?
Are you overflowing with questions and opinions about gear, sport nutrition, and the best ways to improve your times?
Then it's time we got together! Let's celebrate the sport we love in the city we love to do it in. What more appropriate day than on Sunday March 20, after the NYC Half Marathon. What's that, you're not running the half this year? That doesn't mean you can't party like you did!
Two bands of New York area runners will be on hand to play your favorite tunes!
Lady Southpaw, formerly a solo act, is making its debut as a full on rock band! We will be playing original running music from the "Songs for Running," EP (available on iTunes and Amazon) as well as some running appropriate covers, punked up to high speeds. The setlist is wide ranging: from Blondie, and the Boss, to Keane and Florence & the Machine. John of Hella Sound Premium Running Music will even be on hand to play bass.
The Fades have wowed crowds throughout New York City and beyond with our high-energy sets and fun-loving stage act. Dedicated to recreating those ‘80s tunes that defined the decade, we get people moving, singing along and always screaming for more. Why the ‘80s? Because boys don’t cry and girls just want to have fun. In other words, we love rock-n-roll and didn’t stop believing. We love performing and we think it shows. So if you‘re working for the weekend and want to rock this town, The Fades may be the band for you. Rad!
NYCRUNS.COM is a network for all things related to New York Area Running. Check it out and register if you haven't already.
Running Rocks! NYCRUNS.COM Presents
Lady Southpaw and The Fades
168 Delancey (btw Clinton & Attorney)
New York, NY 10002
Sunday March 20, 2011
Doors open @ 4:00 for some pre show drinking and meet-ups
Lady Southpaw @ 5:00
The Fades @ 6:00
Buy tickets online on NYCRUNS.com for $10
If they don't sell out tickets will be available at the door for $15
Enjoy the 2 for 1 well drinks special for the event.
Don't be afraid to bring your friends and significant others who don't run; they can start a little support group for those living with runners. Maybe they'll even be inspired when they see that most runners are actually crazy in a good way.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Saturday, November 13, 2010
My first ING New York City Marathon, in a word it was, bittersweet. The more I look back on it the more it feels sweet, but at the time I had a little bitterness that took some of the excitement out of the day.
There was one issue that seriously got in my way mentally. I mentioned it to a few people but tried not to make a big deal about it before the race. The last time I went to a doctor she noted that I had a heart murmur (see diagram B below for a basic explanation.) I asked her if that would affect my plans to run the marathon and she said she didn't think it would be a good idea for me to do it. I decided I wanted another opinion so I went to a cardiologist with a copy of my echo cardiogram to get a better idea of exactly what risks were involved. His opinion was similar to the first doctor's. He said I had an increased risk of developing a fatal arrhythmia during extreme exercise. However, it was not a huge risk because I'm in great health with normal blood pressure and no other symptoms. As a doctor, he didn't want to give me 100% clearance. Although he did say if I really felt I had to run it, to use caution and drop out if it was too humid, polluted or if I felt dizzy. He also mentioned dehydration could increase the risks.
This was very upsetting because I had trained so well all season and I felt great. I had gotten the 9 minute mile down to a science and during my last couple half marathons I spent more and more miles in the 8:30-8:40/mile range. I got my 5K time down to a 7:30 pace and my 1 mile record was 6:31 which I hit once in practice and once during the 5th Ave mile race. I was really set on getting as close to a 4 hour marathon as possible (which would be a 9:22 min per mile pace.)
The other thing was not as big of a deal but was probably more of a consequence of my own stubbornness. I wanted this race to be a solo mission. All season I had been training with Team in Training. I ran the Hamptons Half with them as my main event so I did my duty with all the fundraising and mentoring already. I didn't do some of the fanfare with them that goes with race day. The main thing was that I didn't take the bus over with the team. Mainly because it didn't make sense since I live really close to the start line on the Brooklyn side of the Verrazano. So I got my own transportation thinking I would end up running into some people I knew in the corrals beforehand. I didn't see anyone! It was a maze of unfamiliar faces.
That aside, all my pre-race rituals went like clock work. I felt fueled, hydrated and I had a chance to empty my bladder. I decided to run with my fuel belt which I didn't want to do, but I was so paranoid about the hydration factor I really wanted the extra security. I felt really dehydrated after my last 20 mile long run and I didn't want to risk that happening again.
The route is very appropriate for my "solo mission." It is starts with a tour of all the neighborhoods I've lived in since moving to New York. Basically, the Brooklyn section starts where I currently live, goes through the neighborhood I moved from and ends in the neighborhood I lived in when I first got here. In between are an array of my favorite hang outs and stomping grounds. It's all the different evolutions that I've gone through since I moved here as a bright eyed girl from Michigan coming straight out of college. There have been different apartments, room mates, jobs, boyfriends, friends, the only common denominator has been me. It's my personal experience of the borough.
Waiting for the start they blasted Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York," through the speakers and I could already feel myself getting choked up. I was running with a heart rate monitor for the first time which was another factor in my overall race performance. They say nothing new on race day but a doctor friend of mine suggested it as a measure to keep an eye on what my heart was doing. It was the worst before the race because I would see the rate rise with every surge of anxiety that I felt. I felt extremely emotional listening to Sinatra and looking up at Verrazano, a bridge I can see from my apartment building and something I was really excited to run over. Still, I was extremely nervous and I didn't want to get too excited early on and create higher risks later in the race. At this point I decided I should try to develop more of an even kiel and stay cool in the face of this race.
I had talked to friends and co-workers beforehand asking them where they would be along the route. I figured I would see at least some of them. Not one. Somehow, I managed to miss everyone! The worst of which was my boyfriend who I missed in THREE places. I blame myself. I didn't specify the side of the road. I may have been to vague in my understanding of exactly where they'd be. Also, I was a little sad my parents weren't there, but there were some obstacles that came up for them and I told them not to worry about it. I could've tried to help them plan out a trip further in advance but I didn't. Early in the race this also weighed on me a little and again it caused me to decide to bury my emotions and keep a sense of calm detachment throughout.
My first marathon was very emotional. I ran with Team in Training in San Francisco. I ran with my friend Jess. We talked about our friends and family members touched by cancer we were running for. I saw my parents and our coaches along the route. It was more about the people than the place. New York was the opposite.
When I first signed up for New York I put my estimated time as 4:30 because I wasn't confident in my goal at that point. As a result I was in a slower corral than I've been used to the last year or two. The crowd was so thick and I was running slower than I had run in a race in well over a year. I was running slower than I had run in any of my training runs by a minute and sometimes over. That was both hard and frustrating. There were so many people it was tough to do anything different from the pack. Plus worrying about my heart made me paranoid about taking off too fast too early. Interestingly a few of the times I tried speeding up my heart rate actually went down. I really do feel like there is such a thing as running too slow and that it is almost as hard as running too fast. Unfortunately the nature of the course and all the people made it difficult to ever find a truly comfortable rhythm.
That's all the bitter, now for the sweet. The race fans were awesome!! Even though I couldn't find my friends there was no shortage of complete strangers cheering me on at every turn. I loved seeing all my familiar neighborhoods and how they fit together. It was like putting together a puzzle I always missed when riding the subway.
Then of course there was the music!! I really got excited by all the bands. Of course you would only get a small taste of each of them while running, but the ones with a lot of guitars and a good beat always got me really excited.
That's what gives me hope and makes me not too sad about the heart murmur thing. I still want to be a part of the marathon experience even if I don't end up running another one. The thought of putting together a new band and playing more races in the future definitely got me going.
Running so conservatively through Brooklyn and Queens meant that when I got to the 59th street bridge I still felt pretty good. First Ave was great of course with the cheering crowds and the road opened up so it didn't feel so packed. Getting to the Bronx was pretty sweet because it meant we were turning back toward the finish.
Fifth avenue was tough because it was so long. Also, a lot of people were reduced to walking at this point. There were so many walkers that at one point they actually blocked the entire width of the road and I had to slow down and squeeze in between people to get through. It was awful.
I also faced the mental block that I had been hitting in the last few half marathons. That last 3 miles is my worst. I know I'm close and that makes me want to stop and I'm not close enough that I feel comfortable picking up the pace because 3 miles is still pretty far. This is what I was feeling as I entered Central Park. I was starting to feel how sore my muscles were particularly on my right side. The rolling hills and the fact that the finish was not in sight made it feel impossible to speed up. It wasn't until the finish was actually in sight that I felt I could pick it up a little.
As I crossed the finish line the time was the same as my first marathon 2 years ago 5:37:30 (or there about) but I started an hour after the clock started (plus the time it took me to cross the start line) my official time ended up being 4:35:51 (10:31 pace per mile.)
For the first time in long time I decided to get an official post race shot with my medal (I usually skip these in the regular NYRR races.) The look on my face is utter relief and elation. I did not die and I did not feel the least bit dehydrated or injured! However, all the muscles in my legs were screaming as I waddled into the flock of slow moving runners being very gradually herded to our bags and out of the park.
At this point I saw my friend Jess, which seemed appropriate since she was the person I ran my first and only other marathon with. It was good to re-connect with her after not seeing her in so long.
In the end it was overwhelmingly a positive experience. I think even on a day when I was not worrying about my heart I probably wouldn't have run a 4 hour marathon. My guess is it would have been closer to 4:20 or maybe 4:15 given all the thick pack, hills, and my lack of experience at this distance. The weather was perfect! You couldn't ask for better!
Now I'm looking forward to perfecting my half marathon and 10K times. I don't want to go through that worry again over the marathon distance. The doctors said it was fine for me to keep running, it was just the distance that was dangerous.
I want to make my contribution to the marathon experience be the music. I can live with that.
Speaking of which, I have teamed up with Hella Sound Premium Running Music and PRS Fitness in contributing to a series of running music workouts. The first one is a collaboration between Jonathan Jones of Linwood Studios and I called, "Strides: Choose to Run." It is a 25 minute, 180 bpm tempo running rock music set that contains a warm up, 6 x 30 sec "stride" intervals with 1 minute recoveries and a cool down. I used it through out my marathon training as a sort of maintenance run between my more intense speed/hill work and the long runs. I found it really helpful.
The thing that differentiates "Choose to Run" from other types of running music is that there is a narrative story line through out the work out. I really want to create more pieces like this. It's a different way to relate to a piece of art, by actively moving with it. Plus, you're getting your speed work in. There are more of these in the works. Please try it out and give me feedback on how it goes! You can tweet me @lady_southpaw or join the Lady Southpaw Running Music Facebook fan page and comment on the wall.
Here's an excerpt we put on Youtube:
Saturday, October 9, 2010
This past weekend marked my third event with Team in Training (TNT.) This organization, an extension of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, helps train everyday people to become endurance athletes. In addition to getting a complete training program with group practices and nutrition coaching for half marathons, marathons and triathlons, participants raise money toward cancer research and patient support services to help families in their struggles with blood related cancers.
For me, this organization has been a real gateway into the running community. It took me from being some one who ran on the treadmill for 20 min at the gym or in the park for 3 miles on the weekend, some one who never timed herself, had little idea about pacing and had never run a race, into a marathoner and completely obsessed runner. I first came in contact with the organization in 2008 and trained with them to complete the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. You can read more about that and my connection to the cause here. That was also the first time I wrote a "running song" as part of my fundraising. Here is the youtube video.
So far the marathon has not been my favorite racing distance. It's hard to get ready for and the training is very time consuming. However, I knew after completing one that I had to do New York. I've been watching friends do that one too many years in a row. I also wanted to be sure to train right, so I signed up for TNT again as a mentor. This way I didn't have to do as much fundraising and could help others in completing the task.
As a mentor I was assigned to the Hamptons Half & Full Marathon as my official event. I am guessing it was because I already had guaranteed entry into the New York Marathon so they gave those spots to the people who needed TNT to secure their registration. Doing the Hamptons Half as a preparation race for NY works out well because it's just over a month before the big race and it's not too far to travel.
I got lucky because my sweetie A.H. used to work out in the Hamptons so he knew some one we could stay with for free. It was a fun weekend.
When we first got out there the weather was miserable! It was cold and rainy. I got A. to do a quick 20 min jog with me, our first run together ever (I'm trying to convert him) and I started wondering about whether that purple singlet was going to be adequate given the weather.
Glory, glory Hallelujah! The weather the next morning felt like nothing short of a miracle! It was gloriously sunny and crisp, the perfect conditions for a race. We rolled in with just enough time to make it through the porta-potty line. I didn't have time to get cold because no sooner had I found my mentee Ken, author and pacing buddy, in the corral than the gun went off. My adrenaline was pumping and soon I talking Ken's ear off about complete drivel. At that point I decided it would be better for both of us if I broke off and let him have his own race. I figured it would be a matter of time before he passed me as our history showed; I liked to take off faster only to have him catch me about two thirds into the race.
My plan was to run the first 5 miles in an 8:40-9:00 mile/min pace window, run the second 5 miles in 8:30-8:50 min pace window and do the last 3.1 miles all out. My PR race was a 1:57:09 at a 8:56 pace so I figured as long as I was doing sub 9 minute miles I would probably PR. Still, it took me a year of running half marathons and chipping a couple minutes off at a time to get down to that so I was a little nervous about sustaining the new pace for that long. I blew it in 5 miles by coming in a minute plus faster than the bottom of the pace window, but I felt great so I didn't worry too much about it.
The course was beautiful. We went by fields and through woods. There was even a stretch on a dirt road. A couple weeks before I had the opportunity to do the "Reach the Beach" relay with some TNT team mates in New Hampshire. That terrain was the perfect preparation for the Hamptons race. That experience also changed my mindset a lot about how hard and fast I could push myself in race conditions. I did all my relay legs in around at or near and 8 min mile pace and felt pretty good about it. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to put together a good blog post about that experience but our captain Joel wrote a great one that can be found here.
As I came into the 10 mile mark I noted that I was no longer below my pace window but still safely inside of it. I was starting to think about speeding up when Ken came trotting up behind me. I was surprised I hadn't seen him before this point and tried for awhile to keep up with him as part of my speed increase. Unfortunately he lost me before we had run a mile together. Miles 11 and 12 were very scenic as they took us along the harbor with a nice view of water and troupe of girls scouts all very eager to give us water and gatorade.
When I hit mile 13 I could have sworn the clock read 1:43 something. This got me excited because I thought there maybe a chance of coming in near 1:50 for my total time. The previous weekend I had done the NYRR 5th Ave mile race with a time of 6:31. I thought if I could pick it up maybe I could at least whip out one sub 8 min mile. I made my best effort to pick up the pace but weirdly I felt like I was running slower. It was unfortunately up hill toward the end. Also, there was that extra .1 of a mile. Anyway, maybe I was wrong because I'm sure it was still sub 10 min....
1:53:34 - 8:43 pace - PR by 3:35 minutes!
Overall, I felt strong for the majority of the race, only the last couple of miles sucked because I tried to push the speed. I'm going to take this as a sign of more PRs to come. I wasn't sure once I got sub 2 hours that I would chip away at it much farther, but now that seems more plausible. It's also got me thinking about a sub 4 hour marathon, but we'll see about that in month.
The thing about being a mentor is that your job isn't done once you cross the finish line. I chatted with some of my faster mentees to see how their races went. Then I went back out onto the course to cheer on some of the slower mentees and the marathoners who were still racing. This is the moment that makes doing all the extra paperwork and weekly emails required for being a mentor pay off. It's really rewarding watching some one who probably never thought they could be a runner cross the finish line of a half marathon or marathon. Being a part of a team makes the whole experience extra fulfilling because there are coaches, mentors and team mates cheering you all along the course. There were lots of good feelings to go around that day, it was definitely a success.
If you are interested in learning more about or supporting this organization I encourage you to check out the website by clicking here. Even though the fall season is coming to a close it's never too late to donate. Also there are plenty of slots open for future events! Thank you to anyone reading this who already took the time to donate. Your generosity plays an important role in making so many good things happen! You are the reason that this organization can continue to make people healthier.
Keep on Running and Rocking everybody!