Saturday, September 24, 2011

Why I am running the marathon

while the  training has been a tremendous growing experience, I am really running the marathon in support of the Lower East Side Girls Club. One of the great things the club does is run their La Tiendita store out of the Essex Street market.

I swung by today and said hello. I was so very impressed by Sonia, a member of the club since age 15. She's been a mentor to younger girls and now works at the market. She just started her first year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

I'm so lucky to be raising money for an organization that not only empowers young women, but is right in my own neighborhood! If you haven't already done so, please consider donating to my marathon cause HERE!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

16 + miles - first FALL run

I'm running this year's New York City Marathon to raise $5000 for the Lower East Side Girls Club.  I have $800 until I reach my goal - please consider donating! Any bit helps. CLICK HERE TO GIVE!

Yesterday's weather was most certainly more "Fall" than end of Summer, despite what the calendar says. Each week I will continue to up my mileage (with a few "easier" up to 17, then pull back to what is apparently an easy 14) until I hit 20 miles. Then I taper for the marathon. Dressing is different. I need some long sleeves. You are cold, you are hot and you're cold again. I like the hot runs better.

Per usual I got out much later than I had intended. These long distance runs require a bit more planning as just lapping blocks in Manhattan gets very dull, very fast.

I decided to do what I shall now call "the Brooklyn Loop." I was missing my old neighborhood. Leave the Lower East Side, run down to the Manhattan Bridge, down to Prospect Park, a loop around the park and then return to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bride. Yowza.

Running down to the Manhattan Bridge is both pretty (see pic - view of Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridge) and a crazy maze through over passes and Chinatown. 

I made my way down to the Atlantic Center (for a stop at the world's worst Target) where the new Atlantic Yards are being developed:

They're quite controversial, I won't get into it. I lived nearby in Cobble Hill for 5 years and I have to say it's the greatest place I've ever lived. I am not sure if this is a positive thing for the area.

Jay-Z is a fan though (being an owner of the Nets and this stadium being their future home, I am sure he is impartial):

Prospect Park is truly beautiful. I wish I had taken more advantage of it when I lived there. This week's long run was not nearly as fun as last week's. I really got exhausted at 12 miles. I didn't feel well, my legs hurt. I called my husband and started crying. My iphone battery died, meaning I had no music and lost my mile tracker. I made it back up to Downtown Brooklyn and tripped in front of a group of teenagers (Fall run indeed). I was embarrassed but I am glad I caught my fall  - it would have taken me out for the rest of the season, I am sure. My legs were weak and wobbly, I am surprised I have not tripped before. I grabbed a muscle milk (disgusting but I needed the protein badly) and hopped on the subway home. I am not sure of my total run tally but it was at least 16 miles, probably closer to 17.

In case you're wondering, this is what feet look like after a 17 mile run:

I have generally attractive feet but they've basically been to war. I am not exactly sure why they look dirty as I had light socks on. Too much information? Maybe, but the world needs to know of my abuse (bc then you'll feel bad for me and DONATE to my fundraising cause).

Now for the scariest part...the ICE BATH. After 17 miles your legs are so sore. My quads were red and trembling. An ice pack or two to reduce inflammation is simply not enough.  I've been advised by advanced runners to jump into a tub of cold water with a few bags of ice. Keep a coat or sweatshirt on and get those legs in there for 10-15 minutes.

After the initial shock, sitting in there feels GREAT. FANTASTIC. It really makes a huge difference in recovery and apparently is a fantastic way to prevent injury. I am not making this up - more here.Then your legs are BRIGHT red and you can barely move them for about 20 minutes. Which is fine because after a snack I usually pass out for a bit anyway.

Off for a recovery swim today and then a treasured day off. I am SOOO tired but swimming really does loosen me up!

Only 49 days to go!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

15 Miles (which really was closer to 16 or more)

of course I have to start with a plug for my fundraising for the Lower East Side Girls Club.  My goal is to raise $5000 for them and I have about $1200 to go. Every little bit, even $10 helps. Please visit my donation page HERE.

 These very long training runs are incredibly intimidating. Yesterday I was scheduled for 15 miles and I missed my last long run due to Irene, I knew it was time. I am not much of a morning runner so I got out around 3. Luckily it was a nice day here and I prepared well ahead of time, eating a large dinner with rice and beans on Friday night.

These runs become all day affairs, taking about 3 hours and basically wiping you out for the rest of the day. (I tried to get an image of a map but it didn't work)

I started out on the Lower East Side and went down Houston, up the Hudson River Park through Riverside Park, up to Columbia to take care of some business. I made it back down through Central Park. The run up the West side is really great.

In the end it was great to have finish it at the very bottom of Central Park on such a beautiful day! I tried to take an ice bath after but it was pretty unsuccessfully.

(the glasses are embarrassing but I need them and lightweight is just necessary)

I capped off the day with a visit to Sleep No More, an interactive performance based on Macbeth where you run around a giant warehouse in Chelsea for 3 hours. Fun but perhaps a bit too much! No one in New York should miss this.

TRAINING: Secrets of the ING New York City Marathon® Course

My coach passed this on to me and I am posting...mostly for my own sanity! Read the actual article here

Staten Island Secrets:
1.    Since you have to be at Fort Wadsworth well in advance of the start time, you will most likely be waiting outside for an hour or more. This may mean wind, rain or sun. The Orange Start Village has the highest number of buildings and trees where you can find shade or huddle close to get out of the elements.
2.    All of the start corrals are longer than you would think. Plan to be in position in your corral 30 minutes before the gun goes off.
Brooklyn Secrets:
1.    While Miles 3 through 8 are fairly flat, the wind can pose a challenge. Running with a group is the best way to combat this. Take turns running at the front of the pack to lessen the impact of the wind.
2.    The three marathon starting groups do not fully merge until Mile 8. If you are on the left side of the road (orange start) do not try to pace the runners on the right side (green and blue), who merged just past Mile 4.
3.    The porta-potties begin at the Mile 3 aid stations, and their lines can rival the ones at the start. If you need immediate relief, try one of the restaurants or bars along Fourth or Bedford Avenues. They have been known to be kind to people with bib numbers.
Queens Secrets:
1.    After crossing the Pulaski Bridge you will have several quick turns to follow. While running the tangents is the fastest, shortest way around the course, it may not be feasible at this point. Plan for it by staying wide of the most congested parts of the turns.
2.    The Queensboro Bridge is steep and can be pretty isolating. You may want to take a brief walk/nutrition break on the ascent. That way you will have a little respite from the climb, and the calories you ingest will be ready to burn once you hit First Avenue.

Manhattan Secrets (Part 1):
1.    There is a huge line of porta-potties underneath the Queensboro Bridge. If you need to stop for a moment, this is the place to do it.
2.    First Avenue is not flat! There are several climbs of two blocks or more, followed by similar descents. Use these downhills to make up a little time before you head to the Bronx.
Bronx Secrets:
1.    The marathon course through the Bronx has changed slightly in the past few years, and the changes have been improvements. The only climbs you will face are slight ones on East 138th Street and again going up to the Madison Avenue Bridge.
2.    When I first ran this course, the only spectators I saw in the Bronx were four very enthusiastic guys with a boom box. Now there's a giant cheering section at Mile 20 with a Jumbotron and a band. It's just the thing to get you moving at a point when you may not feel like it.
3.    The Bronx is the easiest borough in which to spot a runner. The crowds of athletes are not nearly as dense as in the previous boroughs, and there are two very convenient subway stops to get you there. The best one to use is the express stop at 138th Street and Grand Concourse. It will get you very close to the Mile 21 marker right at the Madison Avenue Bridge, perfect for a photo op and quick hug or high-five.
Manhattan Secrets (Part 2):
1.    Harlem is a wonderful part of the course, but Marcus Garvey Park can fool you. There are several turns around the park that are harder than they appear, and the course narrows quite a bit. Be prepared for this.
2.    Keep in mind that this park is still 13 blocks from Central Park; it's best to save a surge for East 90th Street.
3.    As you get closer to Central Park, you will be greeted by thousands of screaming fans. If you are anything like me, your quads may be screaming at you too. Look for the Egyptian obelisk on the right side of the park drive. It marks the start of a significant downhill, which will give you a little relief.
4.    The course will take you out of the park and then back in at Columbus Circle. Make sure your bib number is clearly visible at this point. The race employs volunteers at this post to grab "bandits" and get them off the course. You have worked so hard for this; you do not want to have to stop and show a bib that's pinned to a shirt that you have tied around your waist.
Above all else, use the energy of the crowd to propel you on race day. Get some high-fives, dance to the music (a little) and enjoy the day. It's the best day in New York.
ASICS Training blogger Mary Arnold lives in New York City.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Run for Your Life!

While I am sitting here digesting my big breakfast getting ready for today's 15 milers I have been checking this documentary out. My fantastic coach Elizabeth called it to my attention - Run For Your Life.

view the trailer here

Based on the music alone I am excited to see it. This was my dad's running scene. You can buy the DVD off the website but it's also on Netflix as well.

Friday, September 9, 2011

it's been a while since I have posted

First of all, once again thanks to Bird Brooklyn for their super support in my effort to raise $10,000 for the Lower East Side Girls club. I still have a ways to go - please visit my donation page here.
If it wasn't for these girls I'd have bailed a long time ago! But they're worth all of this!

The official map of the marathon is here!
what have I gotten myself into? Ahhh!

Here's my issue of late:

training for the marathon has not been what I expected. The longer runs take me out, the 4-5 mi runs have become incredibly IT Band  plagues me on a daily basis. I need A LOT more sleep and have to eat a lot and WELL to feel good. Every day I feel like there is a new "item" I need to purchase.  This trusty strap has been working wonders:

Inbetween all this planning this is the daily life that comes in between. I GOT MARRIED on August 15 to the most wonderful guy I have ever met.  And even ran 7 miles in the pouring rain in Vermont the day before!

I moved and my last run was from my new place in the Lower East Side to my old place WAAAAY out in Queens (clocking in 13 miles and conquering the dreaded Queensboro Bridge).

I was really really looking forward to the Bronx Half Marathon a few weeks ago but that pesky storm known as Hurricane Irene meant no race for me...or anyone!

My latest funny injury is...I kid you not...minor frostbite! Long story but my ice pack had an actual ice cube stuck to's like a burn, complete with blisters

I've actually seen many great things on my runs and will document more in as I continue my training.
I have 15 miles planned for tomorrow, yikes!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fashion and Fundraising

I can't write this without giving a massive amount of thanks to my pal Jen Mankins, owner of the fabulous Brooklyn chain Bird. Not only is Jen herself a runner, but her support for the Lower East Side Girls Club has been unending. Thank you Jen!

Next Thursday, September 8th,  is Fashion's Night Out and Bird is hosting fabulous parties at all of their locations, including DJ sets by my friends Justine D. and Nancy Whang.  Plus a lot of very fun stuff. I hear there will be tote bags of Gary the Dog, which is reason enough to go.


so get out there, have fun, dance, eat grilled cheese and SHOP!