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June 7, 2013 / fionarwbl

Five Things Friday: Google Offices, Gorgeous Necklaces, and Summer Eats

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1. Bauble Bar Necklaces cheer up any outfits. I can’t decide between the coral flowers or the blue neon geometry.

2. The nerd in me loves these math-print TOMs

3. If you haven’t had the Coconut Water Fruit Floes from Trader Joes you haven’t tasted summer. Bonus: they have real pieces of coconut in them.

4. This summer salad of Asparagus, White Beans, and Goats cheese is going to be a Sunday night go-to for me.

5. This New Yorker article about the Google offices in New York actually put me off working there. Meetings on a five-person bicycle? No thanks.

June 6, 2013 / fionarwbl

Recovering Hard and Building a Base

Ten days ago I ran the Vermont City Marathon. While my legs feel okay when I run, I know that I’m not truly recovered. I need to take a time out from training, from both a mind and body perspective. I admit that for the last 10 days, it has definitely been mostly a laying around on the beach / grass / couch sort of break, but I’m now considering moving around a little more, maybe breaking a sweat.

My next marathon is on October 6th. I like a shorter training cycle (12 weeks), so that means that marathon training will start at the start of July. The next few weeks will be about having fun and building a base. I did some googling around on what a base training actually means, and got some ideas that I could work with without becoming a slave to the training plan. Here are some thoughts on what I want the next month or so to look like:

  1. A whole lot more yoga. Pure, I miss you so much.
  2. Strength training. Refine, I’m looking at you. Especially now that there are outside classes!
  3. Spinning. I have semi-used class packs at both Flywheel and Revolve which I’d like to make a serious dent in.
  4. Running. Oh yeah, I haven’t forgotten about you.
  5. Recovering. AKA loosening up my angry, tight calves before they do a complete revolt on my and stop running altogether.

Here’s what I won’t have: a training plan or spreadsheet. Instead, I’ll be running based on my mood, but it would be good if my mood corresponded with including the sorts of runs below in any given week:

  • 2-3 30-55 minute easy runs
  • 1 speed workout
  • 1 tempo workout
  • 1 longish run (90-120 mins)

The other thing I’d like to experiment with during my base building is running doubles. Aside from Ragnar races, I’ve never run twice in a day, but I’d like to see whether it agrees with me. I definitely like the idea, because sometimes I’ll have pretty easy, calm days at work, and others, well, it’s crazy-town from start to finish. Getting in doubles might be a decent way to get in my mileage and not be beholden to the corporate gods.

Do you run twice in a day? What do you do in between training cycles? Run less? Party more?

June 5, 2013 / fionarwbl

Running Skirts for the Mini 10k

I admit that I am a late adopter when it comes to running skirts. For at least the first two years of running, I shunned and scored them. I thought that real runners didn’t wear skirts. But, like most things that I passionately hate, I had a complete 180 on them, and now love the opportunity to get some breezy skirt action. Other things I’ve changed my mind on, by the way, include avocado, eggs, and e-readers. But not Coldplay and spinach (still passionately dislike).

There’s just something about a skirt that feels slightly rebellious and transgressive: breaking a randomly defined run boundary set arbitrarily in place. It’s amazing to think that 30 years ago women were not allowed to run long distances and had to register as men, and today women make up over 50% of race registrants. In the advent of Lean In and Not Having It All, this has definitely been a year when talking about what it is to be a working woman today, and the Mini 10k reminds me of how far we’ve come in such a short time. That, for me, will always make it an emotional race, and for some reason, I’ll always wear a skirt to underscore my lady running self. In case you want to join in, here’s some of my favorites, and a couple I’d definitely wear.

 

runningskirts

 

1. Moving Comfort Women’s Sprint Tech Skort – love the colors. Last year I got the Moving Comfort Momentum shorts and I love them; I would love to get this skort as well. Particularly digging the contrast shorts underneath!

2. Lululemon Pacesetter Skirt – the Pacesetter skirt was the first running skirt that I ever bought. The pleats add a nice breezy kick to your run. Love.

3. City Sports Running Skirt – I saw this skirt at the Vermont City Expo (while it was 40 and raining) and still thought that it looked awesome. The laser cut detailing makes it a little different from your regular skirt

4. Nike Rival Running Skirt – my current favorite! I wore this at Big Sur and it was super comfortable, and had a decently sized pocket for stashing my phone and some gels. Oh, and again with the rockin’ contrast shorts.

5. Brooks Infiniti Skirt – Brooks make some of my favorite gear, and this skirt is cut but a little refined. A gateway skirt, if you like 🙂

How do you feel about running skirts? Love, or absolutely loathe? Are you running the Mini 10k this weekend?

June 3, 2013 / fionarwbl

The Best Thing About A Recovery is Planning a Comeback

First up, I am pretty much completely reconciled with my Vermont marathon time. There are so many good things to take away from that race that I cannot honestly keep being upset about it.

  1. The course was fun, fast, and filled with people
  2. For the most part, I ran well, and was pleased with my body
  3. #sub4ordie is in the bag

So, what’s next? Because, you know, that’s what you do when faced with a long stretch of nothing.

Even though marathons are cruel, brutal beasts, it seems that I can’t quite quit them yet. I’d actually signed up for #5 even before completing Vermont. I’ll be toeing the line at the Wineglass Marathon on October 6th, along with lots of my running besties.

In the immediate future, I’ll be running the NYRR Oakley Mini 10k on Saturday. I have a love-hate relationship with this race: love the energy, the crowd, the start along Central Park West, the community of lady runners. And then about 1.5 miles in I hate-hate-hate the race itself, usually because it is so disgustingly humid. Maybe this year will be different – ha!

I then have nothing in the schedule until the Rock N Rock Philly Half Marathon in September, and either the Army 10-Miler or the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco on October 20th.

vermontcity2

There are a couple of things missing:

1. Short races. Some 5ks would be fun. I’d like to try and do a couple of the Prospect Park or Riverside Park 5k series if work allows this year.

2. Another relay. Team Call Me Ishmael are in talks to get back together for a reunion. Now we just have to find a suitable time and location.

3. Anything in July or August. Yes, I know, they are race hell in terms of weather. But I wanna pin a bib on, ok?

 

Do you feel a need to fill an empty calendar with race registrations? Any suggestions for races in July or August?

May 31, 2013 / fionarwbl

Five Things Friday: Cute Tops and Summer Desserts Edition

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1. Nike Pink Cut Out Tank – sale at $28! // 2. Gin-Gin Candies available on Amazon // 3. Clinique Chubby Stick Intense – $16 each// 4. Strawberry Shortcake recipe //5. Feedly RSS feed reader

May 28, 2013 / fionarwbl

A Bittersweet PR: Vermont City Marathon Race Recap

This is a tough race recap to write. On paper, a 16 minute PR is amazing. A feat to be proud of. And believe me, I’m trying. I broke the magic sub 4:00 barrier, and for the most part, felt good doing it.

However, there is no overcoming the overwhelming frustration that I feel right now. There is no doubt that there was a faster finish time in my mind and my body. A few small decisions had significant impacts on my race day time, and of course, I’ll do the necessary things and learn from them, but between now and my next marathon, there will always be a sense of “could have, should have”.

The Vermont City Marathon will also, hopefully, be the wettest marathon I ever run. From the moment we left NYC until about 2hrs into the race, it did not stop raining. Yay summer? I drove up with Steph and Shaya on Friday night, and we got as far as somewheresville just past Albany before finding a random “don’t kill me please” motel to call it a night.

Saturday morning was yet more rain, and the expo had a decidedly damp feeling with people stocking up on emergency hats and waterproof jackets. I got a hat, but decided to stick with my tank top and shorts combination as I hate wet sleeves and figured I’d be working hard enough to stay warm. This, it turned out to be mostly true actually, even if I was the only person in a tank top and shorts I saw the entire race. We also saw Laura at the pacers table who gave us lots of advice and made plans to meet up for dinner later. Dinner was amazing – huge helpings of pasta and delicious sauce. There was even an option for $3.75 cocktails which none of us went for. Next time!

At this point I should let you know – there are not many pictures in this post, because frankly, rain is not so picturesque. Bad blogger.

We got an early night and fairly decent sleep before a 6am wake up call. The race started at 8:03, and we were just a 10 minute drive from the starting line. How awesome are smaller races? We drove over and huddled in the car watching people who were far better prepared for the elements than us head over to the starting line. We had debated picking up gallon trash bags the night before. This was a mistake. We should have. Instead, we had sheer, flimsy, lightweight trashbags that were not exactly weatherproof.

Standing in line for the portapotties we all had serious doubts about even starting. To be honest, I was very, very concerned about hyporthermia or getting sick. However, I knew that I couldn’t go home after not even having run. Having gotten to the start, but not actually started? Not happening. A DNF I could take, a DNS from so close? Not so much.

Having said that, the portapotty line was taking forever, despite the rain, and we hadn’t really left enough time to go, so we ended up sort of missing the actual start and jumping into the race sort of at the back. This was actually a good way to have a slow first mile, and it wasn’t so crowded that I was ducking a weaving the whole time.

I wanted to settle into an 8:45 pace. For the first time since the DC Half in March, I was wearing a watch. I was impressed I could remember how to use it! The first couple of miles are downhill, so I knew I had to hold back and relax on these miles, rather than pay for it later. I briefly ran into Stephanie and exchanged hellos before continuing locked into my pace.

Very early on, I realized, well, I needed the bathroom. I decided that I could try and go early, which would probably be easier than making the time up in the race later, so at the first portapotties at around mile 5 I stopped. And lost 3 minutes, without getting much, er, relief. Eh. Sucks. I picked up the pace and ran past Steph and Shaya again. It took me until mile 8 or 9 to catch up to the 4:00 pace group again, who I wanted to keep well behind me at all times.

vermontcity

I was trying to make up a little time, but not get ahead of myself and end up with dead legs in the second half, so my pace hovered around the 8:20s to 8:30s. I was so nervous about my legs running away with me, as they have a habit of doing, and then leaving me nothing for miles 21-26.2, but at the same time, I was frustrated about losing time. Mile 8 was the first of the two hills on the course, and having run down it, it was straightforward enough up – nothing overwhelming, and only 100ft over half a mile. We also got a sweet downhill about a mile later.

I don’t really remember much until mile 13.1, which was a big relay exchange, and was the only time I felt cold. Oh, and I nearly cried. I still needed the bathroom too. We were running along Lake Champlain, and the wind was bitter, the waves were sloshing over the trail, my time was drifting away, I was cold, and I had no idea where I was. I was very, very unhappy. This lasted for about half a mile, and is one of my slowest miles of the day (9:07). I don’t know what cheered me up – maybe leaving the lake shore – but I got over my “I want to die” and kept one foot in front of the other.

The other “big hill’” in the race is at mile 15, and is a short, steep, bandaid of a hill -steep, intense, but over in a couple of minutes. My type of hill, thankyouverymuch. It didn’t kick my ass too bad, and right at the top running through yet another relay exchange I saw my Ragnar team-mate Kim waving for me. She had just finished her relay running, lucky her. Still, getting over that hill was hugely psychological – there were no more hills to deal with. By the way, this is totally true. There are lots of races where people say there are no more hills after a certain big hill e.g., the Queensboro Bridge in NYC, but it turns out there are about 5 more, maybe not as big, but still, you know, hills. Not in this marathon. It was literally downhill from that point onwards.

vermontcity2

My marathon brain gets a little fuzzy from this point. I did finally breakdown and use the bathroom at mile 18, because, well, I just had to. Another 3 minutes lost. There was some more pretty running on paved trails (lots of this race is on paved trails which is so nice, and I imagine even nicer on a sunny day!). My energy started to flag at mile 21, and then started the painful countdown of miles and multiple bargaining with myself just. keep. running. I had some watermelon at some point. I nearly cried again. Every mile seemed to take about 34 minutes to run, but actually they were more like 8:50s. By mile 25 I was seriously, miserably, ready to be done, and recorded my slowest running mile (9:25). Mile 26 I perked it up to a 9:15, bouyed by the realization that this torture would be over soon. Mile 0.2 was a long circuitous journey through an incredibly long chute, up some mud, and over the finish line. 3:54. Not the 3:50 I had wanted. Not the 3:48 my auto-stopped Garmin had recorded. I was soaking wet, freezing, and upset.

Honestly, I should be pleased. My legs played along the whole race. The times that they were running were amazing – they actually ran to their potential. And I actually got a sense of potential – I could do this better; I could run this faster; this is going ok; I’m having fun! So many emotions from such a self-imposed torture.

I’m sure I’ll have more eloquent thoughts later in the week, but right now I’m just glad I don’t have to run anymore. Everything hurts.

May 24, 2013 / fionarwbl

Ragnar Relay Cape Cod Race Recap Part II: Nighthawks

For me, the night running aspect of relays are what make them so special in the first place. When else do you get the change to run under the stars? Relay night runs are a perfect combination of solitude, exhilaration  and community. There is nothing like running toward a blinking red light, and looking back and seeing a couple of lights bobbing along behind you, and know that you are surrounded by other people who thought that this was a good idea.

Kim took off at dusk, and we picked up Elena and attempted to warm her up. Mostly she was mad we met firefighters while she was running over a bridge. Who can blame her? We tried to appease her with some amazing homemade healthful granola snacks, but she wasn’t having any of it.

Side note: our van was split into people who thought that eating nutella, gummy bears, dunkin donuts, and iced coffee was a perfectly reasonable way to fuel, and those who seems to subsist mostly on nuts and seeds. You can guess on which side I ended up. However, we all agreed that a giant jar of pickles was awesome.

 

Who doesn't carry around giant jars of pickles?

Who doesn’t carry around giant jars of pickles?

Kim handed off to Shaya, who thought her ankle would be able to make it through another 8. So far, so good. Shaya handed off to Steph, who was dressed amazingly in eye-searingly bright neons that I cannot believe I do not have evidence of. However, the photo below I believe is pretty close. Steph ran her legs faster than we thought, and after spending 25 mins waiting at her mid-exchange, we decided to be smart and ask if our runner had come through. Of course she had. #teamfail We drove rather rapidly to her next exchange and bundled Katie out the door to be ready for her coming through.

stephneon

I was up next, and it was about 12.30am. The stars were out, the roads were quiet, and my legs were feeling surprisingly ok, all things considered. I picked out a This American Life to listen to to have Ira Glass comfort me in case I got the night heebie jeebies, and off I went!

Oh yeah. OOHHMIIIGOOODD I LOOOVEE NIIGHHTT RUNNIIIINGGGGGGGG!!

Can you tell what it is yet?

Can you tell what it is yet?

That was basically my thought the entire time. After my first 7 miles, my legs agreed too, and totally sped up “for fun” AKA “let’s pretend we don’t have another 10 miles to run after this. So much fun. Basically, the perfect run.

I was vaguely aware that my van hadn’t passed me while I was running, so when I charged into the exchange all hopped up on adrenaline and 8 min/miles, I was not surprised that the van wasn’t there. It was a small exchange as well, and aside from the guys hanging around the exchange, it was pretty quiet. 2am will do that to you. The people at the exchange were lovely and chatty, taking the edge of any anger I felt about being abandoned in the middle of the night.

After about 15 minutes, our van rolled in. Apparently there had been some missed turns and some lost runners. However, walking into the van was like walking into a wall of doom. Apparently, while I was out getting all runner’s high, spirits had sunk within the van due to a couple of things:

  1. Another potential runner down – Katie’s knee was starting to feel angry at the high mileage, and Shaya’s ankle had not enjoyed the 8m run. We were starting to have to do some complicated math to see how we got through the rest of the miles with less and less runners.
  2. We had made some critical errors in judgment around the placement of our driver’s legs, and both were desperate for sleep.

I cannot claim that I was a good captain at this point and rallied spirits. Instead, I grabbed something to eat, drank some nuun, and put a blanket over my head to get some sleep. No, I am not proud of this.

Kim was running Steph were sleeping, and the van wasn’t moving. Stephanie was promising to rally in 5 mins to get us moving. Somehow, the van switched on and we were moving. Shaya was driving and Elena was map-reading! Somewhere back in the fuzzy recesses of my brain, I remember thinking “her ankle is sore and her map-reading is questionable” (her words, not mine!!), but whatever, we’ll go with it. #GOTEAM

Next up: 4 runners, and 60 miles to go. Are we having fun?

May 21, 2013 / fionarwbl

Ragnar Cape Cod Recap: Part I

It’s been over two weeks since we finished up the Cape Cod Ragnar Relay. That’s probably a good thing because if I had tried to write  recap then, it would have taken me about as long again to recap the race. Instead, I’ll just share the edited highlights and stuff we learnt along the way.

Doesn't this look like a winning team to you?

Doesn’t this look like a winning team to you?

Second most-importantly: WE WON OUR DIVISION! Ok, we one of only two female ultra teams, so it was either winning or coming last. I’m actually quite surprised by the lack of all girl ultra teams, as I was sure I saw a lot more in Napa.

Most importantly – we had fun while doing it. Even the parts that we weren’t sure we were having fun at the time, turned out to be lots of fun in hindsight. Above all, this was our primary goal, as for everyone but me, it was our first relay race, so I consider this a major race win.

Stephanie was our awesome primary driver. She showed considerable skill at dealing with NYC traffic at commuter time. Beware Steph – if you are good at something you might be asked to do it again… We left NYC around 6.30pm and made it up to Weymouth by around 11pm. There were definite junk food stops along the way. Apparently my mid-Ragnar McDonalds last year left a lasting impression on me and I decided to pregame it. However, our poor vegetarian Katie was forced to consider a McFlurry dinner.

Katie was also our accommodations expert. She saved us from staying at a place where Yelp reviewers found “blood on the mattress”, “dirty cups on the floor”, and “bugs everywhere” (and yet they gave it two stars…), and found us a hotel just outside Boston which had a reassuringly large number of white vans parked in the parking lot. Relay time! Even better was the awesome early breakfast that we completely took advantage of. Yes, we were the people who took “bananas for the road”. I mean, just one each…

 

Bananas and whale art FTW

Bananas and whale art FTW

We had a 7am start, but since we weren’t “in it to win it” (next time – mwha ha ha!), we decided to get an extra 30 minutes of sleep rather than a 5am wake up call. We all figured that with the long day ahead of us with no sleep, any extra minutes we could sneak now would be worth it. Once we checked in, our first runner, Kim, was ready to start. Sort off. Actually, Kim timed it perfectly that she ran from the portapotty to the start line right on the 7.30am starting whistle. And we were off!

As an ultra team, we had decided to double up our legs, so Kim’s first leg was approximately 12 miles. Kim is a kick-ass speed demon, so we figured we had about 90 minutes to take care of business and get to the next exchange. And by take care of business I mean buy the largest coffees known to man at Dunkin Donuts and finally decorate our van. Of course I forgot all about the essence of relaying, which is vans pulling over on small roads to cheer to friends and strangers, and instead headed to the next exchange point. Major fail – sorry Kim for leaving you running solo. Kim was our team hare, and she came gambling in like a gazelle to her exchange, slapped the bracelet onto Shaya, and we were off again.

As we drove Shaya’s leg, it was clear it was a randomly hilly run. Who finds hills on Cape Cod? Ok, technically this wasn’t Cape Cod yet, but still, this was one of those roll-y Ragnar legs that goes on forever. We drove to the mid-exchange point to cheer Shaya on and make sure she had enough water etc. As she came tearing through the first exchange, disaster happened and she twisted her ankle. Needless to say, she was in lots of pain and our team was thrown into a state of confusion about what to do and how to continue.

 

Dr. Steph and injured Shaya

Dr. Steph and injured Shaya

This is the risk of running an ultra team. If something happens, then there is very little room for error, and the rest of the team members need to (a) be able to pick up the slack and (b) not get injured themselves. And we were only on mile 16 of a 196 mile odyssey. Yikes.

What now, Captain?

What now, Captain?

We didn’t really have a game plan at all for what to do next, so I impulsively decided to run. I already had 35m to run this weekend, what was another 8? Yes, great decisions are not made in the heat of the moment. I ran back to the van (an extra 0.08m!) and changed / flashed into a random run outfit. All that work ziplocking and labeling went out the window and I just pulled on whatever came out of my bag first. It turned out to be my “aye aye captain” themed outfit of striped top and sparkly skirt. Yay?

 

When in doubt, sparkle

When in doubt, sparkle

I just sort of took off on this run without a watch or idea of route and hoped it would be ok. Of course, drinking a GIANT iced coffee with cream and eating a donut about 20 minutes before left me feeling … uncomfortable for most of the run. I ran a lot of it with a woman who also lived on the Upper West Side, so we talked neighborhood chat for a while, before I told her to go on without me. I talked myself into enjoying the moment, not thinking about the gazillion more miles I had to run, and ignoring the fact that my legs were cursing me for last week’s marathon. Doesn’t it sound like I was having a good time? But really, I was! I loved the New England scenery and smells, the quiet roads, and the sheer joy of “ohmigod-I’m-running-a-relay-with-my-friends-wheeeee!”. And then I asked someone how long we had to go and we still had 4 miles and that put a little bit of a dampener on things. Running watchless can be such a risky approach to runs.

My first leg ended up running through some sea marsh and a cute little village. I would show you pictures, but spoiler alert – a van drove over my phone – so there is no evidence of my run. However, my team were awesome at cheering my in and I handed off my slap to Stephanie who charged off with a flurry of excitement and instructions which we proceeded to forget.

Steph is probably asking for water, but we are so excited to see her we don't listen. #teamawesome

Steph is probably asking for water, but we are so excited to see her we don’t listen. #teamawesome

I now got my team to drive dangerously around small roads pulling in at opportunities to yell encouragement and wait for Steph to run by us. We sort of had a rule: if you were were headphones, you didn’t get a cheer, because we couldn’t be sure you heard us. But everyone else got harassed and yelled for along the way. Gotta love the Ragnar cheer bombs! And yes, somehow in the midst of this I dropped my phone, and then by the time we found it, it looked like this. That is one gone phone. Sidebar – Apple replaced it no questions asked for $229. Expensive, but not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Of course, I hadn’t backed it up properly.

The start of America

The start of America

At this point we were sort of ignoring Shaya’s ankle injury hoping it would go away. Because you know, that’s the best way to deal with problems. We were also doing things like discovering the Plymouth Rock (American Studies MA geek out time!!!), and compulsively hydrating. (Thanks Nuun for the goodies!). Steph ran her legs like a champ, who handed off to Katie, and then it was back to me running again. This time I had a 13m leg, and it was about 5pm.

 

Can I stop please?

Can I stop please?

This was one of the most miserable runs that I’ve had in a long time.

Even though my team mates were awesome – especially Kim and Elena – who were there for me every 4 miles to give me water and margarita shot bloks, I just could not get any rhythm. The road wasn’t particularly pretty, and there was school-run commuter traffic, and instead of kills I was being killed. I kept thinking I had so many more miles to run, and had already run too many miles and wah-wah-wah-wah-wah. As it was two legs, I broke it up into 7m, 1m, 3m, 1m in my head. Finally, somewhere around mile 10, I started to have a good time. Maybe my legs started to feel looser, or was it to do with the crazy menopause weather cooling down, or the route turning into a cute little residential area? I don’t know, but my legs started to spring again. The last mile was along the canal, while the sun was starting to go down, under the Bourne Bridge. Oh, and randomly, after not seeing anyone for about an hour, I started to get some kills. We also set up a super picturesque exchange. Don’t you just want to be there?

 

Soooo pretty. And not just Elena :)

Soooo pretty. And not just Elena 🙂

It was 5.30pm, and we were at the Bourne Bridge, aka Cape traffic hell. Since I’ve been to Cape a ton of times, I would randomly shout directions. This time, I shouted us away from the traffic (yay!) towards Boston (boo!). Rookie error, mostly due to the completely terrible maps that Ragnar use in the Race Bible. Can someone please develop a Ragnar app? Anyway, it turned out to be a fun adventure for the van, as we got offered sandwiches from a van of shirtless Cali firefighters, but not so fun for Elena who ran through her first exchange and then was left to arrive solo at the next exchange and freeze for 10 minutes. And that girl feels the cold.

So concludes everyone’s first run at Cape Cod. Up next: NIGHT RUNNING!!!

May 15, 2013 / fionarwbl

Determining The Possible: How Do I Figuring Out How Fast to Run a Marathon?

My last long run is done. 19 miles looping around Central Park. Normally I don’t run long in Central Park as I find the endless loops frustrating, but after two weeks of hopping around in airplanes, vans, coasts, and countries, I guess I was in the mood for familiarity. They were not the most successful miles I’ve ever had (no thanks to the 12hr overnight flight and 3hr journey from JFK to the UWS I endured before going out), but not every run is a winner, and I’ll take any time I get on my feet as money in the bank at this stage.

Technically, this marathon cycle was just twelve weeks. However, I feel like between NYC, Richmond, #redemptionrace, and two unplanned months of step back, that I’ve actually been marathon training for a year now. This training cycle was fun, and I have enjoyed winter training far more than I thought I would, but I’m looking forward to being goal-less for a month or two. Run for fun, go spinning, get my muscles back at Refine, get back into yoga. All those things that took a backseat as I juggled 60 hour weeks with 30 plus miles of running a week.

Is my goal to be this happy during a race?

Is my goal to be this happy during a race?

I have not yet figured out my goals for Vermont. I have ideas about how fast I want to run, how I want to feel, and grand ideas about negative splitting. But I haven’t realistically sat down and thought hard about what I’m capable of, because in all honesty, I’m not really very sure. At the start of training I ran a 1:50 half marathon on little to no training, but haven’t run a race since then, so can’t use any fancy calculators to tell me if I have gotten faster or not. In some ways, I’m going into Vermont blinder to my running capability than going into NYC or Richmond. I have not yet decided how this makes me feel. Am I relieved to have no expectations, or am I frustrated that I don’t have a clear target?

Do you always have goal times in mind for big races? How do you feel when you exceed them, or do not make them? 

May 11, 2013 / fionarwbl

My Legs Are Tired AKA Man Up Week Might Ruin My Vermont Plans

Hi from Israel! I ran yesterday and it was really hot and kind of sucked, but at least it was pretty?

Trail running outside Jerusalem.

Trail running outside Jerusalem.

It’s 7 days since I finished “man up” week, and, while it was one of the best running weeks of my life, my body and legs are still mad at me, and I’m wondering if they’ll forgive me in time for Vermont. In all honesty, I’ve run off-plan now for 3 weeks – no speedwork, no tempo, no hills. All long runs, all the time. At least I have endurance?

Running 67 miles in a week when I normally run less than 40 was pretty silly. However, the experience of running the Big Sur Marathon and Cape Cod Ragnar was amazing, and I would not exchange it for anything. While I might have blown my lofty race goals for Vermont, I have to remind myself that I wanted to run everything, and that I had an amazing time. Running is a hobby; it should make me happy. A body cannot run all the things, it turns out though, and I cannot do everything, run everything, and then run fast at the end of it. My body knows this; my mind has to catch up.

So, when I run Vermont and do not run as fast as I think I’m capable of, how will I feel? Will I remember to remind myself of the good times spent in a van, the glory of reaching Hurricane Point, the beauty of Bixby Bridge, and the adrenaline of running under the stars? I will try to.