Monday, May 21, 2012

The Broad Street 10-Miler!

I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing that the race that started this blog happened almost 3 weeks ago and I am just getting around to writing about it. Oops!

These last couple of weeks have been filled with not a care in the world, which most likely explains why I've been so MIA. My one goal after the race was to relax, and I've definitely been doing just that. Between lots of brunching and drinks with friends and shopping galore, I think it may be about time to get back on track, but maybe I just need a few more days of goofing off.

So, remember that race, that 10 mile race that I was training for for 10 weeks. Well, I did it. 

In 1:44:46!!

I guess I should start from the beginning of the weekend...

Saturday morning, Jenn and Neesha picked me up at my apartment and we drove down to Philadelphia. We went straight to Lincoln Financial Field to pick up our bibs and t-shirts and other goodies to ensure that we were ready for the race! Alexis met us there, and after buying lots of Cliff bars and Gu Gums we all felt like we were ready for the race.

After relaxing in the hotel for a few hours we headed off to Kara and Ryan's apartment for a pasta party! What better way to prepare for a race than to carbo-load with some of your favorites! Some great company and delicious baked ziti was the perfect way to spend the night before the race. We were all a bit anxious for our early rise the next morning, that we headed back to the hotel and to bed.

Sunday morning, the start time of the race was set at 8:30am. It was recommended that we were there by 7:30am and well, with our over eagerness we got there a bit too early and had an hour and a half to spare. We walked around and looked at everyone stretching and getting ready and I was just truly amazed at the number of people that were there. Turns out, there were 42,000 people there. I've definitely been in big crowds before, but at sporting events or concerts, never running down a street for 10 miles, so I wasn't quite sure what it was going to be like.

In races like this one, where there are so many people, they have corrals so that there are staggered start times. This mean that the 8:30 race start time was going to be more like 9:00 for me. The closer I got to the start line the more nervous I became. I had gone to the bathroom twice before lining up and thought I had to go again, but thankfully it was just nerves.

We finally started at about 8:50 am and Jenn and I did our best to run together. We always say that if one of us is just feeling the adrenaline, then to just go. We don't want to hold each other back, but at the same time it's always nice to have a running buddy.

I think I lost Jenn at around mile 3. We were only running a few seconds off of each other, but with the sea of people, it just became more and more difficult and I didn't want to slow her down. I was really feeling great as I started my run and there were such great spectators all along the route. As we were running through Temple there were people with signs that said 'Most races would be done by now' and other funny lines. It made me smile to think that these people were on the streets just to cheer us on and be amazed by this feat we were taking on.

By the time we were past Temple, and into Center City, I was getting a bit tired, but I kept trucking along. I think it was around this time where Rachel's 'Run Dana Run' mix played me the Whitney Houston 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' mash-up. If you know anything about me, you know that's my karaoke song, so it made me just want to keep on keeping on! As we ran around City Hall and back onto Broad Street I knew I needed to stay to the right so I could keep an eye out on Miriam. I told her what time I would be passing by and she told me what corner she would be at and wouldn't you know, that after 6 miles of running, I found her! I stopped and gave her a big hug and kept on running. If I'm being honest, I started to tear up. I had been working so hard for this and I know all of my friends and family were supporting me through it, but to have someone there, meant the world to me. Also, the fact that I had another 40 minutes of running ahead of me, meant I needed the reminder that people were thinking of me.

Once I hit about mile 7, I was in South Philly. This was a great part of my run, because while I was so tired and still had a few more miles to go, this was the place where my dad grew up. And I grew up coming down there and visiting my family. I knew the street names and it just felt a little bit familiar. I kept thinking, maybe someone will be waiting on one of the corners for me, but I knew that they were just waiting for my phone call at the end of the race!

I can honestly say, that once I hit mile 8, I thought to myself, okay, I did well, I think it's time to go home. :)

I had never run more than 7 miles at a time, so even hitting 8 miles was such a milestone. The fact that I still had 2 more miles to go was just an absurd thought to me. I know that I was slowing down a bit at that point, but I also knew that I had to keep pushing myself. I was so close to reaching my goal of finishing this race! I think site at this point was a group of people all wearing shirts that said '0.5 to go'. It was such a relief, I think I must have started sprinting at that point. I knew that I was so close to finishing, finishing something that I worked so hard to achieve.

As I crossed into the Navy Yard, I just kept wondering where my cousin Jackie might be. She had told me that she would be at the finish line to see me and while I was beyond excited, I was also so anxious. How would I find her? With 42,000 finishers there had to have been at least 42,000 people waiting for them to finish or maybe more like 80,000 people! I kept one eye on the prize (the finish line) and one eye on the side lines! And as crazy as it sounds, about 2 seconds after I crossed the finish line, I spotted Jackie and Gianna. It was such an amazing feeling, finishing the race and seeing family that is so proud of you and what you've done. If my parents and my brother couldn't be there, Jackie and Gianna were the next best thing. We hugged as I tried to catch my breath and take in the fact that I just completed a 10 mile race!  I kept walking around the finish to pick up my medal and some food and then re-unite with Jackie and Gianna.

It was truly a ridiculous site. Thousands upon thousands finishing this amazing race and then having that moment with whoever their special someone was to acknowledge, that they actually did this!

After finally finding some of the rest of my friends, finishing numerous bottles of water, eating lots of fruit and granola bars, it was time to head out to eat more!

While my body didn't want to move, it did want to eat more food. So we headed off to Silk City for a delicious brunch with some of the same people we carbo-loaded with, and more! After eating more food that I thought I could stomach, we headed off to shower and head back to NYC.

It was truly an amazing day, that I will never forget. I will never forget my amazing biff and the kick-ass playlist she made me to keep me running for almost two hours and I will never forget Miriam standing on a street corner waiting for me and allowing me to give her the sweatiest hug ever and I will never forget, crossing that finish line and seeing two of my favorite cousins ever.

But now I have to decide, do I want to run a half-marathon? Do I want to set a new type of goal for myself? What's next for me? I guess you'll just have to wait and see!

For now, the next step in getting through this week so that I can head to Martha's Vineyard to see my very dear friend Erica tie the knot!

Friday, May 4, 2012

One Last Time...

I tied my sneaks for one last time in NYC and hit the ground running. It was just a simple two miles but it reminded me how far I've come. Ten weeks ago two miles was a lot, come Sunday, two miles will just be one fifth of my day.

There are a lot of crossed off days which can only mean one thing, I'm ready!

Off to Philly bright and early to pick up our race packets and have a great pasta dinner with some wonderful friends.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It's the Final Countdown!

Happy Hump Day!

Or is it? Wednesday means it's just a few short days until the big race. I'm currently feeling every emotion under the sun, from energized, to excited, to scared to anxious to thankful.

So, let me elaborate...

After feeling overwhelmingly sore after Saturday's "challenge", I just wasn't sure how this week was going to shape up. Add in the fact that I had a lot of things planned socially, I also wasn't sure when I would have time to round out my training. After going to happy hour yesterday (and not drinking), I rushed home in hopes I would get a good run in and that's exactly what I did! I had a great 3 mile run that I finished in just over 27 minutes. 27:14 to be exact. It felt great to hit the road, and helped me to become energized that I'm still in this and I'm ready!

I had the chance to sneak out of work on Monday and head over to the new REI store in SoHo. After an unsuccessful shopping trip on Sunday for work out clothes, I knew that was still on my to do list. I found a great top that I know I'll look good and feel good wearing during the race. Not only am I excited for my outfit, but I'm excited to be with friends! Right now we're in the process of planning our pasta party for the night before and planning brunch for after the run. There's no better way to celebrate and prepare for a race than with friends.

Scared AND Anxious
I think these two go hand in hand. I'm still scared at the number 10. It just seems like A LOT! I know that I can do this, so I keep reminding myself that, but some days, it's still scary. In the same sense, I'm just anxious about the number 10. I'm anxious for what it will bring and how I'll feel as I'm running along to the finish line. I hope that I can keep my nerves in check for the next couple of days, so keeping my mind off the race is important.

I am SO incredibly thankful for my amazing friends and family that have been and continue to support me through this journey. While it may not be a marathon, or even a half marathon, it's still a big goal that I'm trying to achieve for myself. I'm thankful that I'll see some friendly faces during the race and at the finish line and I'm also thankful that I will definitely be armed with the best playlist of any of the runners out there.

For now, it's off to my boxing class for my last "cross-training" workout before the race!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The High Rock Challenge

My running buddy, Jenn, and I decided it would be fun to sign up for an obstacle course race in Staten Island as a good way to prepare us for Broad Street. Fun is the operative word here.

Leading up to the race all we knew was that we would be running about 8 miles through trails with a number of 'mystery' obstacles along the way. It couldn't be that hard right?! Wrong!

We showed up Saturday morning and while we waited for our start time we were surrounded by athletes that looked like they were ready to do battle. Apparently we had no idea what we were in for as we donned our hot pink and green spandex and sparkly shirts.

* Note to self: Always do a rehearsal run in whatever costume get up you expect to run at least 8 miles in.

The race started with us crawling through mud on our hands and knees under some netting. It continued with what I suppose you could call a run through the woods but it was really more a walk for fear we would trip over one of the many roots or rocks in our path. The next obstacle we came across was 'Mount Moses' which was basically a very large cliff that we had to climb up with the help of a single rope. After slipping a few times I finally made it to the top. A little more 'running' lead us to a lake which we had to kayak across. Just picture it, two small girls with not a lot of upper body strength attempting to paddle! We must have been quite the sight to see!

After we finally made it to the shore, sopping wet, the run continued through the mud. And more mud and more mud until we found ourselves running for a half a mile through a stream.

I think it was around this time where I noticed that the coolness I felt on my butt was not because I was wet but because my pants had split. Thus the reason for the note to self. Thankfully with some quick thinking I turned my shirt into a skirt and ran in just my sports bra on top. While it wasn't the best solution it was the only solution.

But, back to the stream, which wasn't a dried up stream, it was freezing cold water up to our ankles that made us numb! And just when we thought we were done with the stream we were lead to a drainage pipe that we had to shimmy through on our hands and knees. Once again the water was freezing and the cement was hard (we have bruises on our knees to prove that!) but we made it through to find out we had to continue to run through the water! At this point we were about halfway through the race and I think Jenn and I both wanted to cry.

As we continued to run we came up to our next obstacle which entailed us having our arms tied together while we carried a 25lb bag of sand. We were given a map of this wooded area with 5 checkpoints. Three of these checkpoints would give us a number for the combination of our lock. Of course we weren't lucky enough to find our combination in the first three checkpoints and had to go to all five! Once we finally navigated out of the woods and unlocked our lock we were unlocked from each other and left the bag to some other sorry team to carry around for 30 minutes. If we weren't drained before, we were completely spent after that one.

About 3 miles and a couple of brain teasers later the finish line was in sight! I'm not sure which of us was happier but very quickly that happiness vanished as we found out we had one more obstacle to complete. We had to climb up a wall and then get across some netting to then climb down the other side.

As we finally made it across the finish line we hugged and laughed and said NEVER AGAIN!

It was great to experience something different and maybe if we were more prepared it would have been a bit easier on us, but for now we may just stick to road races. We ended up finishing in 2 hours and 44 minutes which put us 314 out of 634 total teams and 56 out of 184 female teams. Not too shabby especially with a hole in my pants for more than half the race!

Now I need to focus on restoring my muscles and my energy to Broad Street! Only 6 more days til the race that I've spent 10 weeks preparing for!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Personal Records

I'm currently sitting on a train on the way to Boston for a very special friend's bachelorette party. Knowing that I was going to be away for the weekend and that it was two weeks before my big race I decided to take a half day so that I could get a run in. Once again it's all about making the time. I know some of my friends aren't training like I am for this race and that's fine, but this training is keeping me motivated and helping me to see that I can do this!

Since last Saturday I wasn't able to complete my 7 miles I put that in mind as my goal. I knew that if I can run 6 miles, I can definitely run 7 and if I can run 7 then I can hopefully run 10!

Well, I pushed myself more than ever and am proud to say I killed my 7 mile run today. I ran my regular route but found that 3.5 miles from my apartment leads me right under the Brooklyn bridge! I really wanted to keep running across to the West Side but time was just not in my favor so I swiftly turned around once I got to the bridge. Thankfully there are water fountains along East River Park so about every two miles I was able to hydrate. I'm going to have to remind myself that I need to stop at all of the water stations even if I'm feeling fine!

My first two miles were super fast coming in at about 8:50 and then 9:10. I knew that I was moving too fast and that if I wanted to accomplish my goal I was going to have to slow down! So eventually I got into my grove and finished my 7 miles with an average pace of 9:49! I mean how freaking amazing! My goal for Broad Street is to maintain a 10 minute mile so it looks like I'm right on track.

After my run I picked up a salad and a jumbo Zico water to hydrate and quickly got ready to head off to Penn Station.

Tomorrow we're having a spa day so I'm treating myself to an hour long deep tissue massage. I think I've deserved it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Everyone loves some sunshine!

Last week was another busy yet productive week.

If any of you out there are Biggest Loser fans you know that this season is the season of no excuses. Well that's exactly the mindset I was in this week. I didn't want to sacrifice my social life but as we're getting closer to the race I need to make sure I am on schedule with my training!

Last Tuesday I had dinner plans with the girls I volunteer with because one of them sadly (but happy for her!) left us for Florence for the next year. While dinner was a 10 min walk from my office I decided to make things difficult for myself. I brought my running shows and tied up my laces and ran home from work! Of course I ran the long way home! I thought I knew the path I was taking but I actually shot a little off and ended up running 3.85 miles instead of 3! I guess I can't complain since it was a beautiful night and I didn't mind keeping my legs moving! I swiftly showered and ran to catch the bus and was only about 5 minutes late to dinner! No bad for getting in a workout!

Thursday night I was off for another run but this was a little less enthusiastic. I had been out late Wednesday night for happy hour and combined with the wonderful Passover diet I just didn't have the energy needed. I ended up with a normal 3 mile run that a normal person wouldn't complain about, but of course I wasn't too thrilled.

While Friday is supposed to be my off day I decided to get some yoga in. Since I'm of the new mindset that yoga the day before a run helps me I thought, why not! I tried a new studio near my office and the teacher was great. She helped adjust me in a few positions and even convinced me to try a few poses I didn't think I could handle. Overall I left feeling rejuvenated with some extra flexibility especially in my hips.

Saturday I woke up to beautiful blue skies and couldn't wait for my run. Sarah and I had planned to go to Central Park to get our workouts in and we couldn't have asked for better weather. She's training for the 40-mile 5-borough bike tour so her goal was to do 3 of the big loops while mine was to do one which is about 6 miles. Well, I'm not sure if it was the heat, Passover or just the hills but my 6 miles was anything but spectacular. I had to walk a fair amount and was hydrating like crazy but I did finish it in less time than my last 6 mile run so I guess that's a positive. It was still great to be out and about and of course I was feeling it in my hips once I was home! I decided to treat myself to a manicure/pedicure afterwards and boy was that a treat. Nothing like someone rubbing your feet after you've pounded them into the ground!

This week isn't as busy but I am headed to Boston for a bachelorette party this weekend so still not sure when I'll get my big run in.

Hope everyone is enjoying the weather as much as I am! As well as the hundreds that flocked to the park this week. Oh I can't wait for summer in the city!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Reservoir

Today was deemed 'Family Fun Day' by yours truly. While the weekend already consisted of a lot of family time, it's always nice to try something different! Oddly enough, 3 out of the 4 of us have never been to the Reservoir even though it's basically in our backyard.

I was told it was about 3 miles around the red loop so my mom, dad and Josh set out to walk one loop while I was going to run two in order to hit my 6 miles. Little did I know the loop was just like one big hill! As we all know I don't really run many hills in NYC so I wasn't sure that I was totally up for the challenge.

After about 2 miles I thought I was going to give up. I kept telling myself I could push through each hill but they just kept winning. I decided to run back and find the family. About a half mile later I found them and my water bottle and handed off my zip up. I told myself to suck it up and get a move on. So move on I did and found myself running another 2 miles before getting to the beginning of the loop. At that point I had run 4.6 miles and I knew that I could finish this run strong!

I ran back to find my family (and my water!) and by the time I did I hit 5.4 miles. I quickly grabbed my bottle and ran back to the beginning of the loop finishing my 6 miles in just under 66 minutes with a 10:58 average pace. It definitely wasn't my best run or my most graceful, but I was ecstatic that I finished!

The scenery at the Reservoir is breathtaking both literally and figuratively! Overall it was a great weekend with the family and I was so proud of my run. Next week is 7 miles!

Only 4 more weeks til race time.