Within days of the NYC Marathon — my thoughts are busy studying the weather forecast for Sunday Nov 2, 2014 (currently predicting wind chill at 23 degrees and 30 mph headwinds!), wondering if I have trained enough, wondering if the “taper” concept really works, and examining that elusive question – “Why run?”. For the longest time, I sought out a sole answer to “Why run?”. I’ve read countless books and running magazines that try to make sense of that question with sensible answers. Answers that range from “it’s childlike and adults need more childlike”, “it’s playful and adults need to get more play time”. There are more answers too — from feeling a sense of accomplishment, to having a gym the size of mother Earth, to not needing to pay a monthly membership fee, to leaving your responsibilities behind — to just plain “me time”. All of these make sense, and all of these I can resonate with at any given moment. Continue reading Times Roman 9
The final long run before the NYC Marathon has arrived. A shorty (12 miles) by prior long run standards – but possibly one of the most important practice runs of all. The run that imprints a positive state of mind.
The day began earlier than I would have preferred. I had over-committed my day, and my running start time would be sacrificed. My alarm goes off at 4:45, and I’m eating breakfast by 5:00AM. I’m not the least bit hungry, but force down 1/2 wheat bagel, peanut butter and a banana. It sits in me like a boulder. Digestion is taking it’s sweet time, and by 7:30AM my gut is not feeling especially “well”. Continue reading Taper 12: Seeking effortless
My NYC marathon bid is apparently on a 15 year (approximate) cycle. In 1985 – I ran/finished my first NYC marathon….followed by #2 in 1999….and #3 yet to come – Nov 2, 2014. So many things have changed…. Continue reading A trip down NYC marathon memory lane…
A decrease in running volume the final weeks before a marathon – is called “the taper”. The purpose of the taper, is to allow the body a chance to repair and recover – before the BIG day (Nov 2 – NYC Marathon). With 5 months of steadily increasing toll and stress on the body – just 2 days into “the taper” feels like a running vacation. Suddenly, I have time on my hands. Suddenly, I am sleeping more, and my daily runs begin well after 8AM (the o-dark-hundred days are over!). I have more time for my cat, drinking coffee in the AM, productivity has soared (in my mind), I’ve caught up on replying to emails, and my inbox miraculously has less than 50 emails, I’ve updated all my accounting entries into QuickBooks, and I have started cleaning the house. All because I have a few more minutes in my day – not running. Continue reading Taper tales from a running junkie
With 3 weeks to go before the 2014 NYC Marathon, today’s long run was scheduled to be 18 miles. It was also scheduled to be the final “simulation run” where every nuance from nutrition to sleep to clothing to hydration to temperature and – oh yeah the run – was to build confidence and learn from any challenges. I will also be visualizing and coordinating my mile markers — with the NYC marathon course. Now, that’s what I call a simulation run! Continue reading 19 miles of visualizing the NYC course
Leading up to today’s planned 20 mile long run – was a monumental shift of my eating habits. A macro-nutrient shift — so that the majority of nutrients come from Carbohydrates. Today, I would put my learnings from last weeks “fume run” to the test. Today’s run – my longest training run prior to the NYC marathon, needed to push back the wall and stoke the fires of my confidence. I was feeling the pressure. Continue reading 20.6 miles of pure joy!!
On the road by 4:30AM, and accompanied by triSista Tamar – we made our way north for a 2.5 hour road trip – to Philadelphia for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon. The Philly Half Marathon has become one of my favorite venues – thanks to the amazing course route that blends both downtown cityscape with majestic parkland along the Schuylkill River. This week’s long run is 13.1 miles — making the Philly course a perfect location.
We arrived in Philly at 7AM, quickly found a parking space, and stepped outside into surprisingly humid mid-September temperatures. While the temperatures were in the lower 70’s – the humidity turned this into sweating weather. I knew I would need to carry extra water – despite the course being stocked with water stations ever 2 miles. Yes, it was that humid.
Many take to the streets in the Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half Marathon to PR. Despite the humidity, Deena Kastor handled that on behalf of the rest of us mortals… While Deena was busy setting fire to the course and doing us “masters” proud (shattering the world record – OK?), Ms. Tamar and I were busy taking in the sights. Oh sure, we were running AND sightseeing, absorbing the arts district and downtown Philly, listening to the theme from Rocky, hearing support from spectators (“Go Adrianne!!)” – and ultimately becoming one with the views from the Schuylkill River. Conversations gradually dwindled, GPS watches beeped synchronously at each mile marker, and eventually runners began to tire. Legs get heavy, and the footsteps get louder, and I would imagine those who listen to tunes simply turn up the volume. For many that is the ritual of the half marathon.
For me, I run faster the second half of the half. I even feel like I’m landing lighter. Relatively speaking. And all of this could be in my head. As the countdown to NYC marathon becomes more real, as the training slowly peaks, I have discovered that running a half marathon is now framed as a shorter run. Who knew I could ever have such thoughts? After crossing the finish line, and reunited with Ms. Tamar, we collected food and beverages handed out to all finishers, and gradually walked another mile back to our car. Tami took this opportunity to capture on camera distinctive architecture among the buildings – and I scouted out the nearest coffee shop for treats. Sweet!
Savoring this moment, cuz next week…is a 20 mile long training run.
Visualizing November 2, 2014….makes the long runs a lot easier!
After watching this video, I can’t wait to be surrounded by my amazing friends and family (Team Sherpa – Paddy, Chuck, Jill & Tamar), run as motha’-daughta team (my NY accent) with Ms. Emma, be inspired by my amazing supporters and honorees via the Ulman Cancer Fund (26.2 for Hope) – in the midst of 50,000+ runners and more spectators than imaginable. Yep, it’s starting to feel real! I almost (operative word) want to go out for a 2nd run today!
In the spirit of the Star Spangled 200 year celebration of our National Anthem in Baltimore – I took to the streets (and mostly the Baltimore Promenade along the waterfront) for my long run this week.
Thankfully, daughter Emma is ‘on top’ of my training calendar. After weeks of misreading the training schedule (“don’t we have to run another 20 miles this week”) for the weekly long run – I consulted with her in person. “We only have to do 17 miles this week”, Emma explained, after noting that I had been ‘overachieving’ for the last several weeks. Overachieving is another way of saying that I have been misreading the weekly ritual – and it’s time to put on my reading glasses!
Presented with *just* 17 miles – I may be able to do this without lining up Team Sherpa — friends and family who have been making this journey possible for me. So, I opted to test my will, and see if I could make 17 miles happen by myself.
The temperatures were in the upper 50 degrees, with no humidity. It was so delightful, I was giddy to get started. The first 7 miles were completed in the Port of Baltimore. This area is an industrialized shipping terminal along the Patapsco river, that consisted of very wide roadways, and barely any traffic. It is the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning – and the only folks moving about were other runners who also had to get their long run in. After a quick pit stop at mile 7, and top off of my water bottles, I changed direction to head directly toward ‘ground zero’ of the Star Spangled festivities. My turn-around destination would be just shy of Fort McHenry – located at the tip of the Locust Point peninsula.
My route would be scenic. First through the belly of the Canton neighborhood, then past distinctive Fells Point and onward toward Inner Harbor East. An extremely large Naval fighting ship was docked at the Broadway Street Wharf, and I was tempted to stop and board (along with the hundreds of tourists who apparently get up early on a Sunday morning). I nixed that though in the spirit of continuing to just run. Somewhere near the Inner Harbor East lighthouse, I passed by 2 other naval ships that must have something worth protecting on board. Behind fencing and gates, and a line of military persons carrying very large and menacing weapons – it was pretty clear that I would not be spending much time hovering. Onward into the Inner Harbor – the tourists are out in FULL force. My pace significantly slowed, as I practiced agility footwork – stepping right, stepping left, anticipating the moves of senior citizens, children and especially those carrying camera equipment. It was good practice staying alert – and my mind had no opportunity to ‘zone out’. The largest sailing vessel I have ever seen – US Coast Guard sailing vessel Eagle was docked. I thought long and hard about stopping to take a picture along with all of the other tourists, but decided that the boat was too large. It was something to experience, and not try to capture. Back to practicing my agility moves – dancing with tourists.
Now into the Federal Hill section of Baltimore, the crowds started to thin out, and I was back to my running pace which was beginning to feel slow. I had to remind myself to drink water. With cooler temperatures and lower humidity – it is easy to forget that your body still needs the fluids! Exiting from the promenade and entering the streets of Locust Point I had reached mile 12 – and it was now time to turn my ship around and return back to the Canton neighborhood. I will be returning over prior footsteps – and likely larger crowds.
The crowds had increased two-fold by the time I had returned for my final pass through the Inner Harbor. By now, the adults had consumed caffeine, and the children were high on sugary treats (the street vendors did not seem to sell healthy foods) – and this was the perfect test for more of my footwork and anticipation skills. Through the Inner Harbor, parts of my run took me precariously close to the waters edge, and other times I narrowly escaped spontaneously moving humans and their dogs! People were out on the streets, out on the promenade. Tourists and locals – everyone was milling about, and enjoying the Star Spangled festivities.
Returning back to Canton with 17.17 miles complete – the satisfaction of running this alone (though not really alone in these crowds!) – was pretty special. Not because I want to run alone (I much prefer company!), but knowing that I can. Spent the rest of the day with family, morphing into sightseeing-mode with all of the other tourists – for the most incredible Air Show from the Canton shoreline. (Thanks Bro for the Air Show photo contribution)
More photos from the 9/13/2014 Star Spangled Fireworks