Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon 2016 Race Recap

I was up at 5:45 on Saturday morning, drank a couple cups of coffee and ate my usual English muffin with peanut butter. I left earlier than I needed to because I would rather be early than late and stressed out.

The race didn't start until 9:30, so I had oodles of time to pick up my number and race shirt. I actually ended up sitting in my car for about 20 minutes after packet pickup to stay warm while I waited.

The Sleepy Hollow Half is run by my weekend running group, Rivertown Runners, so it was fun to have a bunch of runner friends there with me. There was a whole group of us together at the starting line.

My two best running friends and I before the start. It's impossible to get a good picture of all of us.

Photo Credit to Joe Golden

The course was different from the last time I ran it. A couple of years ago we still had snow on the ground, so a lot of the trails were not included.

The first half mile or so is mostly uphill on the road. After that we hit the aqueduct trails which are packed dirt. It was pretty crowded for the first few miles, especially once we were off the road and on the narrower trails. I think some people were a little nervous on the trails, but since I run them every weekend I passed a bunch of people by running on the edge of the trail.

It was mostly rolling hills until just before mile 5, where we were serenaded by a bagpiper as we dragged ourselves up a long, steep hill. My friend kept telling me to pump my arms, but I was not moving very quickly. From mile 5.5 on we were back on the roads.

There's a bit of a stretch out and back on a highway that really seems to drag. The way out was a gentle, but endless uphill, which at least made the way back a long downhill. It's about a mile and a half each way.

Around mile 9.5 is a really stupid hill in a hospital parking lot. It's just so unnecessary.

After running through some neighborhoods, the course runs along the Hudson until the final mile. The last mile is mostly flat until the last .2, which is up the worst hill of the entire race. It's known as the Pocantico Punisher, though I know a few runners with more colorful names for it.

Photo credit to Jared Johnson

My race plan was to just run. I set my watch to show the clock time and didn't look at any of my mile splits. I ended up running the entire race within about 20 feet of one of my weekend running buddies. Our trio all had the goal of just being under 2 hours at the finish line. We naturally alternated who was in the lead and ran side by side from time to time. Sometimes talking, sometimes alone with our music. He told me around mile 9 that we definitely were on track to come in under two hours, and later asked me what my PR time was.

In the last couple of miles he told me it was only going to be a question of how much I would beat my PR by. I was definitely getting tired by the last mile, but nothing really hurt, I was just tired. The last hill took a lot out of me, but I saw 1:56:xx on the clock and broke into a smile and a sprint and finished just behind my friend. We actually ended up with the exact same chip time, my new PR - 1:56:35!

It ended up being a great race day - perfect weather (though I did end up with a bit of a sunburn), zero pain, a fun run with friends and a new PR! Can't ask for much more than that!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Being Smart and My Race Plan

So, first things first:

We'll see what happens on the 31st and then I'll figure out the plan for the fall.

I have been sticking to my extra stretching and taking it easy and my calf/shin situation seems to be much happier. I had a really good (though pretty slow) run on Thursday. I wore the shoes I wear for speed work and races because I know they don't bother my legs. It was a beautiful day and gave me a little mental boost. 

It was one of those runs that remind you why you run in the first place. It just made me happy!

It also made me feel like I'm not going to DNF at the race tomorrow, so there's that. 

I decided I am not going to worry about pace tomorrow. I'm going to run whatever pace feels good and see what happens. It's a race with a bunch of my friends and the weather is supposed to be great - I just want to enjoy it. Plus, it is too soon after an almost injury to kill myself at this race. I have other races coming up, and aggravating this mild injury could get in the way of the next few. 

See how smart I can be sometimes? 

The key word is sometimes. 

Now I have to find my tin of safety pins, figure out what I'm wearing and what time I need to set my alarm for.

Are you racing this weekend?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Borderline Injured

I have been taking it easy on running the last few days. My run on Monday was supposed to be 4 easy miles, but I started feeling a more painful than should be ignored sensation in my lower leg. I walked a bit and ended up with just under 2.5 miles. 

I spent some time with the foam roller and stick roller and have been living in compression socks since then. Tuesday I took a rest day and did some yoga. 

Adriene (my YouTube yoga friend) just posted a new Runner's Yoga video yesterday, so it was perfect timing. It's so good!

This afternoon I did a short yoga warm up before my run and managed 3 miles. I deliberately went slow and didn't go too far because at this point my goal is to keep things loose so hopefully I will be ready to run on Saturday. I even did a yoga cool down when I got home. 

I'm really nice to my body when I'm borderline injured. It's like when I think I'm getting sick I start eating really well and making sure I drink enough water.

Buddy says hi. Or at least he would if you were here and he wasn't sleeping.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Great Marathon Debate

So, I'm having a debate about my fall marathon.

I am thinking about signing up for the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) lottery later this week. The race is at the end of October, and I have only ever heard good things about it. Several of my friends from my running group are also entering the lottery.

I have never been to Washington DC, and the marathon would be a really fun way to see the sights. Plus, it's always fun to run different races.

But, I'm also considering running the Steamtown Marathon again (instead). I am a small race lover at heart - give me short lines, small towns and friendly runners. I really enjoyed running Steamtown last year and I would love to go back.

Part of my debate also centers around my mom's visit in October. If I get into the MCM, I will be training while she's here. On the other hand, if I run Steamtown, she could come to the race the first weekend of her visit and then I could be less running focused for the rest of her trip.

And really, there may not even be a debate to be had, since MCM isn't a sure thing.

Decisions, decisions.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Not Much Else

I had some major plans to do stuff today. I got the dishes done early and braved the Sunday grocery store madness before noon.

And then I did a whole lot of not much else.

My Saturday long run (10 miles) went much faster than last weekend because I was running with my running group. I don't really feel like I'm running a half marathon next weekend, but apparently I am.

I don't know what to expect from this race, because I haven't run a half since September. I'm hoping I will be able to keep it under 2 hours, but the first long race of the year is always unpredictable.

In other news: this is what you should do with any and all St Patrick's Day leftovers - corned beef hash! Tom made it on Saturday. It was delicious and I wanted more.

Buddy has been really busy lately.

He actually has a new trick of digging things up in the yard and eating them. The old owners had a really big garden in the middle of the yard that was overgrown and crazy when we moved in. We cleared it all out, but a few things have popped up (like random asparagus stalks). I'm pretty sure Buddy found some kind of radishes and he's been ripping up the yard to get to them.

I got these fancy shoe laces on Kickstarter (I should not be allowed on there) and now I'll never have to tie these shoes again.

The rest of our corned beef leftovers (we deliberately made a ton) are going to be turned into reuben sandwiches for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Rocks and New Shoes

The days have really been sneaking by lately!

I haven't been reading my usual blogs, and I haven't been posting. I don't really know what has been keeping me away, but I just haven't been spending too much time on my computer this week.

A few highlights (and lowlights) for you:

I ran my long run solo on Saturday. I have been running with people for long runs lately, and let me tell you, 11 miles go a lot faster with friends. My watch randomly had a GPS glitch that it mostly corrected. At about 7 miles it said 5.8, a couple of minutes later it jumped up to 7.3. One of my mile splits was under two minutes. Yeah, that seems right...

We ran out of oil for the furnace on Saturday. I discovered this fact when I went to take a shower after my run. We were having dinner with our neighbor so I couldn't not shower. I took the coldest shower ever and tried to keep most of my body away from the water while I washed my hair.

On Sunday I was randomly possessed by a yard work maniac and spent at least 5 hours digging up rocks and cleaning random bits of glass and other trash out of one of the giant rock piles in the yard. Now it's a smaller giant rock pile and it isn't full of garbage.

It was a nice night, so we had a little fire in the fire pit.

Buddy has been loving the warmer weather we've been having, because it means we hang out in the yard when I get home from running.

I got new shoes today. I ordered them the other day and I was delaying my run until the mailman came. They're Brooks Launch 2s - the 3s are out now, so the 2s are on sale - they were really comfortable right out of the box and I didn't have to adjust them at all on my run today. We'll see how they do on some longer runs.

What are your favorite shoes right now?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Super Lazy

This may seem strange coming from someone who runs, but I'm really a naturally lazy person. Just ask my mom.

I am perfectly happy to curl up on the couch with a book or my laptop and not move all day. I don't even feel guilty when I do it either.

It's not the most productive way of living, so every day is a series of negotiations with myself over random things. It's usually along these lines:

I don't want to do that

Will you want to do it later?

Probably not. 

Does it need to be done?

At some point...

Just do it now and get it over with.


It's all very mature, but at least I can generally get things done when I need to. This tendency is also part of what motivates me to sign up for races. I like running, I wouldn't keep running and racing if I didn't, but even things I like to do can fall victim to my default laziness.

Tom has been working in the city this week, and when he's gone I tend to be super lazy about meals. I'm the queen of the snack-a-thon - I'll just have a little of this and a little of that until I'm full. I'm pretty impressed with myself because I haven't done that this week. I have actually cooked something every night.

Not that I have anything against cereal for dinner, because I don't.

A few meals from this week:

This is not attractive, but it was delicious: rice with bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, broccoli and chicken.

Burger! (I would happily eat a burger every day) and some mostly successful potato wedges/fries. Considering I'm working without an oven they turned out pretty well!

Tonight was avocado with a side of chicken fajitas. Avocado is the best.

Do you have a food you would be happy to eat every day?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Hot Stuff

Not to complain, but it was too hot for my run today.

Ok, so it was really only around 65 degrees, but I need a little more of a transition period to get used to warmer weather.

I had a tempo run on the plan and wasn't sure if I was going to be able to pick up any speed at all until a little over a mile in. It was weird to be running in shorts and a tank top again. If you don't count my amazingly slow first mile, I averaged an 8:47 pace. I'm always happy with any time that starts with an 8.

Buddy and I hung out in the yard for a bit after I got home. I was too hot to go inside.

I don't know why Buddy looks angry in this picture. He's been loving all the sunshine we have had lately.

My first half marathon of the year is coming up quickly! It's the Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon, which is a little over two weeks away. You can read my recap of the 2014 race HERE. It was my first half in NY and I basically trained on the treadmill. It was before I joined my weekend running group and before I gained any speed.

It is a fairly hilly half, so we'll see where I'm at come race day.

When/what is your next race?

Did anyone get into the NYC Marathon lottery today? I didn't apply this year, I have other possibilities for a fall marathon that I'm considering.

Monday, March 7, 2016


I swear, the more free time I have, the worse I get with time management.

When I'm super busy I somehow manage to get tons of things done. When I only have work until 11am and have nothing else to schedule around, somehow I end up spending a lot of time doing a whole lot of nothing.

Today was busy. I taught classes at two different schools instead of just one. I spent a ton of time in the car, but I also put gas in the car, did some grocery shopping, and somehow convinced myself to go for a run and do some yoga when I finally got home.

Other days I teach and then can barely get myself to run. I'm super productive.

Buddy and I spent a little time outside at lunch. It is warming up around here - it's supposed to hit 70 on Wednesday, which is probably going to feel weird.

I was running as the sun went down, which made for some pretty views. 

My run wasn't fast today, but after having to cut a run short last week, I'm just happy that I hit my mileage without much trouble.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

An Early Morning Long Run

My alarm went off early this morning.

Like, 5am early.

After a quick coffee (there must always be coffee) and a bowl of oatmeal, I hit the road to meet up with my running friends to get a few miles in before the main Rivertown Runners meet up at 8.

We got a little over 4 miles in and then hit the trails with the big group. There was a really good turn out today for some reason, (maybe because people have races coming up?) and we had around 30 people for our chilly run. Maybe everyone was fooled by the sunny morning. It's that time of year when you expect the sun to be warm, but it's not quite there yet. Although, it's supposed to hit 70 on Wednesday, so spring is not far off!

I attempted to take a picture right as the trail turned, so instead of seeing all the people ahead of us, here's a few.

11 miles for the morning and other than being tired from my early morning wake up, I'm feeling good. Good thing too, because my first half of the year is only 3 weeks away!

This is my current favorite Yoga With Adriene video:

Ignore the "for weight loss" title - I do. I just really enjoy the flow and have done this video several times this week. I also want Adriene's tights.

Buddy has had a busy day of sleeping. It's impressive how exhausting all that sleeping is!

I have a feeling I won't be staying up very late tonight either.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I'm a LEGEND Compression Ambassador!

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my privacy policy.

It was SO nice on Sunday! Buddy was pretty psyched. 

Tom has been working on finishing up the back porch roof, and I was put in charge of burning all the scrap wood.

I had an absolutely miserable run on Monday. I felt off (possibly getting sick?) but figured I would feel better after a mile or so. It was supposed to be a 5 mile run, and I cut it short at 3 miles.

Today's run started off in a similar fashion, but fortunately it picked up after a bit. I had repeats on the plan for today, so I ran 9x400m repeats with 400m recovery walk/jogs. Normally I would do a 200m recovery, but since there's a limited flat area in my neighborhood I like to start and end at the same place to avoid hills. A little extra recovery in between intervals never hurts either.

As an added bonus, I was in shorts and a tank top for most of my run (I did start with a jacket) - it was a nice change from wearing all the layers.

I wore my snazzy LEGEND Compression calf sleeves for my repeats. They're seriously the softest compression gear I've ever tried and I'm super excited to rep them at all my races this year as a LEGEND ambassador!

LEGEND not only carries performance socks, sleeves and recovery socks (which have a higher level of compression to speed recovery), they also have business/dress socks and stockings if you can't get away with wearing yoga pants all day ;)

Use code AmbFriend2016 to get 15% off!

And this is what happens when Buddy goes into the unfinished addition and then walks on my yoga mat:

At least he looks a little sorry.
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