Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Building blocks

After 5 miles on Sunday, I chose to scale back a little today to 2.5 instead of upping my mileage to 2.75.  It may seem silly to some that a 1/4 mile could be that big a deal, but I want to be sure that I'm not overusing or pushing anything to a breaking point.

It also allowed me to just focus on running longer.  No formal interval timing, just run until I wanted a little break, then walk a little until I felt like running again.  I focused on my posture and breathing as I ran along and had a really nice run this morning as a result, covering just over 2.5 miles in a little under 35 minutes.

Every run I try to notice something about the world around me and today it was the lilacs are coming out. I love lilacs, perhaps because they are only here for such a short time.  I love the scent, color and look of them, so it was nice this morning to get that surprise was just something worth smiling about.

Next week will include my 5 mile run on Sunday - I'm holding there for a bit, and a 3 mile run mid-week.  In a couple of weeks I'll split my mid-week run into two 2 mile runs and build from there.  When I have 1 5 mile and 2 2 mile runs, I'll start adding to the long run again.  Until then I'll keep going, one step at a time.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Doyle's 5 Mile

I love this race.

Have I ever told you that?  If not, I'm surprised because I love this race.

Quick recap: My goal was to run between a 13-14 min mile and finish in 1:10 or under.  I finished the 5 mile course in 1:09 before the rain came.

Full reca: All week long the weather has beautiful but today, the predictions were for rain and lots of it.  We need the rain as we're in drought conditions, but today?  Why?  At race time it was 55* and drizzly.  I could live with that, the hope was that the rain would hold off, and it ultimately did.  Gazelle Boy was shivering.  In his Kafka t-shirt and shorts, he was freezing in the raw conditions.  I know he likes to pass runners in these situations, but I was worried about him and wanted him to move up front.  He moved far enough front that I couldn't see him, but I had no idea where he was in the crowd.

To top it off, we were on our way to the race when I realized my watch and inhaler were on the coffee table at home (d'oh), so I took this as a a sign that I need to focus less on time and more on just running.  So I decided I would run through a song or two and then walk a song.

The start is always chaotic.  Two thousand runners trying to get across the start line is not a pretty sight.  This year was the first time the race was chip timed, so it didn't matter that it took a couple of minutes to get across.  I had somehow managed to start both the Nike+ GPS and the Nike+ - I'm not sure how but they were both battling for my attention on the course.   As always, the Boston Police Gaelic column stood at the 1/4 mile mark playing for us. :)

The drizzle stopped and we we were off.  I moved along to the my angry Irish run playlist and the beat of Floggy Molly.  Just before the 1 mile mark, there were a number of people jumping up and down trying to flag someone's attention.  I could see a small crowd gathered around someone and I said out loud, "Please G-d, don't let it be my son" as all I could see was a well toned leg in shoes like the ones he wears.  I got closer and caught a glimpse of the blue, long sleeved race shirt on the person and veered off.  Unless someone gave Gazelle Boy a shirt after he moved forward, it wasn't him.  There were a large number of people around the person, so I kept going saying a prayer that they'd be OK.

My heart went out of the race at that point.  I had no definitive way of knowing if Gazelle Boy was Ok or not, so I powered through.  He didn't pass me at his usual spot and I was starting to worry again until just after the 2nd mile mark I saw him in the distance coming down the road from the Franklin Park Zoo leg of the race.  I joyfully yelled my traditional greeting to him, "You're getting beat by a girl!"  He ran over and asked if I had an inhaler.  I said no, he said he was OK but... and took off in the direction of the last mile while I headed to the zoo and turn around.  A great weight had been lifted and I was back in the race.

I trucked along, pretty uneventfully, The women holding the 3rd mile marker were not in the right place, but it was OK since I knew about what I was doing.  I had settled into a good rhythm with some of the folks around me in terms of running/walking and passing/being passed.  This is perhaps my favorite part of the course.  Turning off the main road past the golf course and running through a wooded section with a little brook and ducks and green, green leaves of spring.  It's that feeling like you're somewhere other than the densest part of the city.  The final turn to go under the overpass and up the street to finish at Doyle's.

At the finish, I crossed at 1:09 and change.  My husband and Gazelle Boy stood there with a beer for me and we drank up.  I ran into one of my running buddies, couldn't find the others and we decided to get Gazelle Boy in from the cold and get some food.

Gazelle Boy's slow pace?  A 7:41 mile for 38:25.  My pace?  A 13:39 for a 1:08 finish.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

On Top of the World

I love the Boston Marathon expo. It's exciting and inspiring. It was also one of those moments that strike you hard and stick with you. When I first walked in there was the Adidas/BAA display with a big "Adidas is all in" sign. There were people everywhere and the end of the song "On Top of the World" by Imagine Dragons was playing on my iPhone. The words ringing in my ears as I walked in:

‘Cause I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay
Been holding it in for a while, ‘ay
Take it with me if I can
Been dreaming of this since a child

And I know it’s hard when you’re falling down
And it’s a long way up when you hit the ground
Get up now, get up, get up now.

Summed up the journey for so many of the people walking through those doors. The expo is overwhelming and inspiring all at once. It's the time you get to talk to people who are runners or support runners for a living. You find people like you, meet people from all over the world and just drink in what it all means.

I love that the people are there and I can try on new running skirts and outfits. Last year I ranted about how so many companies don't get it. Big girls like me like to look cute too, and the folks at running skirts get that. I also look for this year's Boston shirts from Nike. It started a while back with the "Will run for chowdah" shirt. I also have "will run for a largah," and "Boston, it's wicked pissah" This year's was "Heartbreakah," which I wore with my new skirt this morning as I took to Heartbreak hill for a 4.5 mile run. I loved this morning's run. It was warm (in the 60's) and Comm Ave was busy with runners, walkers and local crews setting up for the Heartbreak Hill race this afternoon.

Tomorrow is the marathon and temperatures are predicted to be in the 80's, which is not good for marathoners. I know my water duties will be critical tomorrow. But today, today was a good day to run because I felt on top of the world.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Poetic running

Sunday and yesterday I got dressed to run but never made it out the door. This morning I declared "ENOUGH" and went out for the 4 miles I've been meaning to do the past couple of days. As I was running, I was thinking about lots of things. I was thinking about how I'm running a 6-7 minute stretch and bored after a 2 minute walk break forcing myself to walk the 3rd minute instead of running to keep building my stamina. I thought about my folks and trying to make them move more. I thought about the paper due tonight that I haven't written yet and that I'm taking the MTELs next week. It's a lot to carry and running is a great way to start shedding those burdens.

What made today's run different happened after I ran past the Johnny Kelley statue.

A little past the statue, I heard brakes squealing. Turning around, I saw a turkey darting across Comm Ave running towards Johnny. I was thinking, "Wow, everyone's getting a run in today." That's when the first haiku struck:

Morning brakes squeal out
the turkey crosses Comm Ave
against the red light

and I had to tweet it during my walk break. Then, as I finished up my run, passing the high school someone had written a bunch of messages on the sidewalk in chalk including, "You lose the game" and "Never give up." I laughed as I passed the spot and wrote another haiku on twitter for my cool off walk:

You lose the game scrawled
in colorful sidewalk chalk
I run past laughing

For some reason, finding a couple of poems as I ran made today's run that much better.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Put me in coach

Opening day is here! The Red Sox are in Detroit and the day in Boston loomed clear but cold. I looked like the Easter Bunny barfed springy goodness on me with my safety yellow accented running tights, pink hoodie and green running jacket and braved the 38* temps for 2.5 miles.

These were good, strong miles along the road where I am walking faster and running longer. Today it was 6 minutes of running to 3 minutes of walking. I could feel my back was straight and I remembered to lift my heels while I was in motion and I could feel the difference in how I ran as a result.

Time for a quick shower before I bike off to school but no matter how cold it was outside this morning, I felt the sweet, soft warm kiss of summer and the whispers of "play ball" in my ear.