Friday Five: Fall 2019

It’s Friday so I’m linking up with Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostess and visit some other bloggers.

As the days are getting shorter (sigh), it reminds that Fall is right around the corner. I am a planner. I mean, I already booked my half marathon hotel and flight for February months ago.

So what are my plans for the Fall?

1. NYCM Training

Nov. 3, 2019

11 weeks to go!!!

I have a loose plan and so far so good.  12 miles are scheduled for this weekend. But it’s doesn’t get crazy until September.

2. Weekday Runs with Friends

In addition to mileage getting crazy, work travel will be picking up this Fall. I will be traveling around NYS 6 weeks from August – October.  So when I am in town, I hope to be able to coordinate after work runs with friends.

3. Weekend Boating

The marina does not close until after Columbus Day. So hopefully, the weather will cooperate so I can squeeze some fall weather boating on the weekend (when I am not running.)

4. Two Half Marathons as Training Runs

How can you make marathon training less painful?

Sign up for races!!

The first one will be in September for my 13 miler and the next one be in October for my 20 mile training run.

Mohawk Hudson Marathon

5. Spending Quality Time with Friends

Sometimes, you can forget that running is not the most important thing in your life. Especially when you are training for your first marathon.

So I made sure I scheduled time away with my friends.

I will be visiting my college roommate in RI in September.

I will be spending the weekend on the Schroon River with my mah jongg friends.

And I also will be going to NYC with my tennis friends.

Happy Running! Do you have exciting plans for the Fall? Please share.

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Yes, You Will Get Slower…

Illustration: Christoph Hitz

It’s inevitable.

Those PRs will stop coming.

When?

That depends.

  • How long have you been running?  They said you only improve during the first 10 years of running.
  • How old are you now?
  • How hard do you train?  Do you even train?
  • Are you a natural athlete? Does running come easy to you?
  • Do you race often or just run for fun?
  • What kind of races do you run? Short ones or endurance races?
  • Have you had many chronic injuries?
  • Have you had a serious injury?
  • Do you participate in other fitness activities besides running?
  • How many miles do you run each week?
  • How many rest days do you take each week?

In other words, there’s really no way to predict when or how fast or even how much you will SLOW down.

But unfortunately, it will happen.

So how do you know it is happening?

  • You struggle to keep an even pace.
  • Your race finish times are slower.
  • You positive split your races.
  • You walk more often in a race.
  • It’s just feels harder.
  • It takes longer to warm up.
  • It’s takes longer to recover.
  • You need more rest days.
  • You shorten your runs.
  • You choose flat races or running routes.

Of course, even if you are noticing some of the things above, you should still RUN!

But what are some things that you can try when you do start SLOWING down.

  • TRY TO STOP SAYING YOU ARE SLOW or APOLOGIZING FOR BEING SLOW.

We all know that pace is relative. You may feel slow but you are not the slowest runner out there. In addition to making you think too much about your own pace, it may make others (who ARE slower) uncomfortable.

  • TRY A  LONGER DISTANCE.

5ks naturally make you focus on speed. Pick an endurance event like a half marathon or marathon or even a 50k where you will be just glad to finish.

This hilly 15k had me just looking forward to the ice cream and the view after the finish line.

  • TRY A SHORTER DISTANCE.

If you run half marathons and a decent pace is getting harder to maintain in the latter miles, try training for a 5k or 10k.  Maintaining a faster pace may be less intimidating in a shorter race.

after training for 4 half marathons in 4 months, this 5k was a welcome relief.

 

 

  • TRY INTERVALS.

Many runners find that adding timed walk breaks help them get faster finish times.

My friend Elizabeth in NYC belongs to a Galloway group and loves her intervals.

  • TRY RUNNING BY HEART RATE.

Monitoring your heart rate as you run can also in the long run help you get faster.

My friend Deirdre is getting faster with heart rate training.

  • TRY TRAIL RUNNING.

You will not run faster on trails. You will most likely focus on not falling and on your surroundings. (Trails tend to be more scenic than the road.)  As a result, your slower pace will bother you less.

  • TRY ADDING OTHER TYPES OF FITNESS EVENTS.

What about adding biking or swimming or obstacles to your running? As with trails, your running pace will become less important.

not me but my friend AJH

  • TRY HAVING A GOAL THAT IS NOT RELATED TO YOUR FINISH TIME.

Forget about trying to finish under a certain time. Maybe your goal can be a course PR or consistent pace or negative splits or running up the hills or walking less often. Just make sure that you choose a realistic goal.

finishing a half marathon STRONG!

  • TRY MENTORING A BEGINNER RUNNER.

Besides, being very rewarding, you will not be able to worry about your own pace. You will be trying to help another runner finish their first race.

  • TRY TO FIND YOUR TRIBE.

If the runners that you normally run with are not slowing down and they make you feel slow when you run with them, then you need to seek out another group of runners.  Check out the local running clubs or training groups.  Try to find another runner or runners that you feel more comfortable running with.

always someone to share the miles with in this wonderful group of ladies – my Sole Sisters.

  • TRY TAKING A BREAK FROM RACING AND RUN JUST FOR FUN.

If racing is making you stress out about your slower pace, stop signing up for races.  Run for fun and maybe after a while, you’ll miss it and want to race again.  But remember, you are still runner even if you never race.

So you may be wondering where this topic fits into my running life….

I’m in that limbo stage.  I am probably past my PR days but haven’t come to terms with it yet. In other words, PRs are harder to come by but I haven’t completely given up hope yet.

I’ve stopped having finish time goals.  They are now to finish uninjured.  Though, I’d love to run ONE 5k and finish under 27 minutes. (An old runner can dream).

I am very content that my finish times at my age often earn me age group awards and that I qualified for both the NYC Half and NYC Marathon.

I do all my runs for fun, without a watch and on mostly flat surfaces.  I have started participating in trail runs and humbly enjoy running with the BOTPers.

I do plan to keep on running as long as I am able…even at a turtle’s pace.

Happy Running!  Anyone else approaching or have approached that inevitable slow down period in their running?  If so, any other recommendations? Please share.

Weekly Run Down for 8.5.19-8.11.19 – Avoiding the Rain

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The theme of the week was looking at the forecast and finding a time to run.  And WEEK 6 of NYCM Training, of course.

Last Week

  • Monday – Since I wanted to get my nails done after work (priorities, right?), I got up early to run before work. I was treated to perfect temps (in the 50’s – woo hoo!!) Glad to have done it.

for part of the run, I ventured out of the neighborhood onto the water line trail (it is wasn’t even buggy)

  • Tuesday I had plans after work to meet a friend at the gym and then go to dinner. Since the weather for the next few days seemed iffy, I got up early AGAIN and ran a few miles before work. It was nice to enjoy those cool temps two days in a row but it’s challenge to keep the run interesting in my neighborhood. I do choose different routes but still…boring (Thank God for good podcasts). And the forecast was right, it did rain on and off in the afternoon.

  • Wednesday – There were several choices for today’s after work run – either SOAR on the same trails as last week or a run on the rail trail and then have ice cream. I chose the later for several reasons. The trail was a longer drive and I had run it last week. Trail running isn’t really running (for me) and more of my friends were doing the ice cream run. And then they both were cancelled due to predicted thunderstorms. So I went out for ice cream with my co-workers. And the rain never came. On my way home, I stopped at the rail trail and ran a few humid miles. Is it an ice cream run if you eat the ice cream before the run? Lol

  • Thursday -Thursdays have been for trailing running for the last 4 weeks but the location was pretty far, the trail more technical and most of my friends were not going. So I thought I would instead run on the Corning Bike Path which is not far from where I was working. Then I realized that I can run local anytime so I chose the trail run. Running friends Heidi and Deirdre did too.

Heidi and I drove together and it RAINed hard the whole drive.  But when we arrived, it actually stopped (Yep lots of mud on the trail). This trail was the prettiest of all the trails I’ve done but too slippery to run so we walked most of it.  That means we were BOTP, out in the dark and the trail markers were hard to see. Yes, we had fun even though we got lost several times.  There was even food (turkey, beans, etc) left when we finally found our way back. The drive home was even more eventful because of the detours and no cell service.  So it was much longer drive and a lot of laughs along the way.

  • Friday – Finally a rest day and my usual evening with the mah jongg ladies.
  • Saturday – Long Run Saturday with my Sole Sisters.  As usual, I am running longer than the others so I started earlier, ran 2 miles and then ran with Sherry for 9. The weather was perfect and it’s always easier running with a friend. Afterwards, we all went to our favorite brunch place.

  • Sunday – Boating Sunday. Can you believe, that it has not rained all summer on the weekend.  It would really suck if we could not enjoy the lake and our boat.

relaxed and read and then had our first BBQ of the season

Friday Five: Trail Running

It’s Friday so I’m linking up with Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostess and visit some other bloggers.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am clumsy. I have fallen when running on the road and have fallen even during races.

check out the blood streaming down my leg

So who would have guessed that this summer, I am running (NOT racing) on trails.

Obviously after five trail runs, I am not an expert but here are some of my tips to enjoy your time running on the trails:

1. Wear Proper Running Shoes.

You can run with normal running shoes but wearing shoes made for trail running will give you more grip on the uneven rocky or muddy ground. It will also give you peace of mind.

we got muddy but no one fell

2. Use Bug Spray/Tick Repellent.

Yes, trails especially in the summertime are buggy.  I even spray insect repellent on my clothes. I also wear compression calf sleeves to protect my legs from ticks.

sweaty but smiling because we had no bug bites

3. Never Run Alone.

Because on the trails there is a  greater possibility of either getting lost or falling, I think it is always best to run with a buddy. If you are alone (or get separated from your friend), make sure you have a charged cell phone with you!

hanging with my buddy Deirdre at Lawson Lake

4. Run on Different Trails.

Even running on the SAME trails can get boring.  If you are not fortunate to be part of group-organized trail runs, explore the Internet and the AllTrails app to find trails within driving distance of where you love or work.  You’ll be surprised at how many hidden treasures you’ll discover.

at Five Rivers minutes from where I live

5. Slow Down and Enjoy the Scenery

In other words, look around. Listen to the different sounds. Don’t miss a distant lake or not stop at an overlook.  Trail running definitely gives you the opportunity to appreciate nature more. It’s ok to walk. It’s not the time to work on speed. I recommend not even wearing a watch!!

stopping an an overlook in Thatcher Park

Happy Running! Do run on trails? If so, any other tips?  Please share.

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Hudson River Ramble Race Recap

In 2016, I discovered an 8.4 mile race called Race the Train that sounded interesting. You took a train ride along the Hudson River and then raced the train back.  I signed up.  It was lots of fun even with the challenging hills.  I even ran it again in 2017.

Here is the course map.  You can see what I mean about the long early hill.

rtt

Well, the train has been discontinued. No Race the Train without a train so now the race is called the Hudson River Ramble. This year was its inaugural year.

Instead of a train, buses transported runners from Johnsburg School to Riverside Station.  Otherwise it was basically the same course. 8 miles (instead of 8.4) beginning on Riparius Bridge and going along the wooded rolling hills of river road a seasonal use dirt road paralleling the Hudson River, turning left to the flats and finishing across from Johnsburg Central School parking lot (instead of the train depot).

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Riparius bridge

I thought about staying the night before the race at a friend’s who lived nearby but I got out of work very late. Instead I took the hour and 35 minute drive north on race morning.

The forecast for where I lived was showers and thunderstorms and it rained my whole drive up.  But where the race took place, it was supposed to be sunny and warm.

The rain stopped as I neared the school.  It was in the high 50s (I hadn’t felt those temps in a while and I was almost chilly) but I knew once the sun got higher in the sky, it would warm up (and it really did!)

school parking lot

I arrived around 7:30 am and picked my race packet (a cotton shirt, a bib and a raffle ticket). There were REAL restrooms inside the school too. Always a plus.

cotton unisex shirt Boo!

I was early so I walked around and wound up chatting with a runner, Judy, from NC. We talked running, racing, injuries and she told all about her struggles with recovering from cancer.

matchy matchy I guess because I got many compliments about my outfit

Soon it was time to board the bus. Judy and I sat together.  Obviously not as fun as riding the train and no scenic views of the Hudson River either.

It was still only 8:30 am when we arrived at the train station so I just walked around. I felt really sleepy. I was wondering how I was gong to run 8 hilly miles. I took a SIS energy gel hoping for some energy.

What were my plans for this race?

No goals. I would automatically get a PR (my first race at this distance) and it would be nice if I got an age group award. But my real goal was really just to finish pain-free and enjoy the run.

And that’s what I did.

We started on the bridge as the previous race did. Judy sprinted ahead and disappeared. I just stayed with the crowd (which was much smaller than the previous races.)

The first mile and 1/2 was a STEEP uphill. First on asphalt and then on dirt. I attempted to run but decided that I would be better off walking. Everyone that was running was struggling.  So I ran a little but mostly walked. There was a runner ahead with a neon green shirt. I tried to keep her in my sight and did until the last few miles. Then there was a guy who passed me in a blue shirt. I stayed behind him the whole race.  (Many others did pass me by.)

A young runner and I were running together for a bit and she asked me to run with her. I said “Sure” and we stayed together running a little but mostly walking. But I guess I am lousy running buddy because I lost her and I’m not sure how or when.

There was someone who called out times at every mile. I was hoping to get my pace to between 10 and 11 and keep it there even if I walked the hills. That didn’t really happen (as I found out after the race when I looked at my splits. I never look during a race.)

There were a water/Gatorade stop at every 1.5 mile or so.  I stopped and walked at each one as it was sunny and getting warmer and warmer.  It was probably very humid as well because the temps were only in the high 70s.

Anyway, that first long uphill eventually turned into a downhill but after that it was just rolling hills. They never ended. (How could I have forgotten them??) They weren’t steep or as long except for maybe 2 more steepish ones (The one between mile 5 and 6 was so steep. I could barely walk up it.) That meant there were only 2 more steep downhills.

But because you were running on dirt with rocks, you couldn’t take advantage of the downhills as much as you would have liked. (I always fear a face plant.) And it was very sandy in parts and hard to run fast (even if I wanted to).

My legs felt tired from the get go. Was it from my 3.5 mile trail run on Thursday night? Or 4.5 miles on Wed? (I rarely run more than 3 miles on a weekday run.) Or most likely that I didn’t get a lot of sleep this past week.

It was hilly but I have fared better on hills in the past. I walked way too much and let the hills get the best of me. (I know, do hill repeats. That’s ain’t gonna happen.)

However, the scenery was nice as you ran through the woods (I missed hearing the train whistle as it passed you by) and toward the end, you could see the river. Eventually, you had to run through town in order to return to the high school. The end of the previous race was flat as it ended at the train station. This race added a few more (unappreciated) hills as we finished across from the high school.

Though I had no time goals, I estimated that I would finish between 1:28 and 1:24.  I finished at 1:26:52. (Of course, I hoped for faster.)

Instead of a medal, you got a key chain (with a light)

It was a course PR of course and an 8 mile race PR. 

But I was disappointed as my pace was slower than on the Race the Train course and much slower than on other hilly courses.

I waited at the finish for my friend Sue to cross and the runner that I was supposed to run with.  Both had a tough race.

I went back to the school to get some food.

There were bagels, fruit and lots of homemade baked goods but the highlight was chocolate milk and watermelon.

I ate, chatted and waited around for the awards.

Remember my new friend Judy (the cancer survivor with all those medical problems)? She finished second female (at age 60)!!!

There were 3 in my age group and we all won hats.

After the awards, they gave away raffle prizes but as in the past, I did not win any.

All in all, a very challenging yet fun race. I think I’ll do it again (since I’ll probably block out any memory of those hills LOL)

My HILLY Splits:

mile 1 – 11:28
mile 2 – 11:23
mile 3 – 9:39
mile 4 – 10:59
mile 5 – 10:51
mile 6 – 11:35
mile 7 – 10:59
mile 8 – 11:00

A BOTP finish (50 out 68) and many miles over 11.  A rare occurrence.  But it is what it is and on to the next race (and marathon training).

As I drove back to the marina where we keep our boat, I passed a sign for a hiking trail that I usually do each summer – Cat and Thomas Mountains.  I have yet to hike this summer so on a whim (yes after 8 hilly miles), I stopped, grabbed my water, changed into my hiking shoes (they are always in my car, phew) and started walking up the mountain.

It was around noon and quite warm but at least it was pretty shady but way longer to the top of Thomas Mountain than I remember (like 2 miles or so STRAIGHT UP!!).

I did finally get to the top…

I admired the view, chatted with some folks and then decided not to continue on to Cat Mountain and walked down to my car.

It was actually a perfect recovery for my legs, I think.

The next day, we went back up to go boating, my legs felt great (even with all the hills).

near the marina – just spreading my wings while waiting for friends to show up to go boating on the lake.


There is a link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies.


I’m linking also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie and Marc.

Happy Running! Did you race this weekend? Do you have a big race coming up? Do you struggle on hilly races or do you prepare for them?  How do you recover from a hilly race? Please share.

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Weekly Run Down for 7.29.19-8.4.19: Race Week Again

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A new name for an old race. And it was also WEEK 5 for NYCM Training and I continued to get my runs done.

Last Week

  • Monday – A quick run before work

we are already losing daylight hours – boo!

because I was going to the movies that evening. A friend got a free pass to:

The Farewell poster.jpg

I enjoyed it.

  • Tuesday Instead of my regular job, this week, I worked tech support for the NYS Bar Exam. For nostalgia sake (I proctored where I used to work) I thought I might run a little in the area but it was too damn hot (and thunderstorms were lurking). I did meet my BFF to walk and talk in the mall. Got my steps in!!
  • Wednesday – Back at my regular job and this week, I set my alarm to run before work but changed my mind. Instead I did attend the ice cream run after work. It was at a convenient location and though I was tired, I can never resist ice cream.

scheduled for 5 miles… dragged myself through 2 at UAlbany and then 2.5 trail miles at 6 mile Waterworks. Thanks, Barbara for staying with me while I pulled up the rear.

  • Thursday – Back at the Bar Exam…exhausted but still excited to run the trails again. We returned to Thacher Park but ran on a different trail than a few weeks ago. Somehow once I started running, the weariness in my body disappeared and I ran with a new friend (Gail). We ran slow and enjoyed the views and then  afterword went out to dinner with some of my Sole Sisters.

  • Friday –  Rest day after day 3 at the Bar Exam so that I could get ready to run 8 insanely hilly miles the next day. and then recoup at my friend’s house on the Schroon River.
  • Saturday – Inaugural Hudson River Ramble (previously Race the Train). – an 8 mile race along the Hudson River (where a train used to run). I guess I had amnesia because I don’t remember the race being this hard…the hills were insane so I had no choice but to walk up every single one.  Still I made some new friends, chatted with some old ones and even won my age group.

After the race, I stopped at a trail. Yes I hiked to top of a mountain… Sorry legs but I’ve wanting to hike all summer.

2 miles to the top

  • Sunday – Another Boating Sunday on Lake George. Again the weather was lovely and this week, we invited some friends along.  Such a fun day sharing our love of the lake with others.

This Coming Week – Marathon Training Week 6

  • Monday 3 miles (before work), nail appt.
  • Tuesday –  rest day, dinner out with a friend
  • Wednesday – 5 miles (ice cream group run) on the rail trail or SOAR run at Thacher Park
  • Thursday3 miles (ARE trail run series or on the Corning bike path)
  • Friday – rest day, mah jongg evening
  • Saturday11 mile Long Run
  • Sunday – rest day, boating

I am linking up with Kim and Deborah for

I encourage you to do the same. Grab the graphic, drop your link on the host blogs and play along! Please be sure to always comment on the HOST’s blogs, as well as visit and comment on as many other blogs as you can.

Happy Running! How is your running going? What’s new with you? Any races on the horizon? How are you dealing with the summer temps? Please share.

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Friday Five and the Ultimate Coffee Date for August

It’s that time of the month…

still loving my France mugs

to join up with Coco & Deborah for their ultimate coffee date.

1.Over coffee…

I’d tell you that I only ran ONE race in July.

But I’m making up for it in August.

I signed up for FOUR (almost 5) this month.

  • 08-03-19 – Hudson River Ramble (8 m)
  • 08-14-19 – Al Goldstein 5k (in Brooklyn)
  • 08-17-19 – Jailhouse Rock 5k
  • 08-19-19 – Saratoga Track Mile

I have run them all before (except the one mile race). The Hudson Ramble is slightly different – used to be Race the Train (same course) but there is no longer a train.

I have a hair appt. on August 21 and will miss the the Hump Day 5k. 😦

last year’s Hump Day 5k

Only two are on a weekend so it should not disrupt marathon training too much.

Do you run many races in the summer?

2.Over coffee…

I’d tell you that I made the hotel reservation right away but finally made my flight reservations for my February race in Bermuda. I know it’s still early but flights are expensive and it was nerve racking trying to decide which days to go to take advantage of the cheaper prices.

Cari and I finally settled on leaving late Wed and returning early Monday. Four days and 5 nights in paradise!!!

Image result for zooma bermuda

Feb 12-17, 2020 – 2 mile sunset race on Feb 15 and a half marathon on Feb 16.

Anyone else running this race?  When will you be there? I’d love to meet up.

3.Over coffee…

I’d tell you that (not running-related sorry) that my new kitty become more manageable. He goes outside all the time but he comes home when I call him.

I mean, I am marathon training, I don’t have time for his shenanigans. lol

In fact, he came home just for this photo.

Does you pet interfere with your running?

4.Over coffee…

I’d tell you that I love my OLD Garmin 205.

People laugh when they see it but it’s great to be able to see all 4 screens of data on ONE screen.

my Garmin time

I’m on my third one. The battery life eventually wears out and I order a new one.

Being that I will be running a full marathon that may take me 6 hours, I was nervous that my trusty Garmin battery may not last as long as my race.

So I ordered a (used) new one.

Garmin Forerunner 230

Garmin 230

Anyone else have the 230? If so, do you like it?

5.Over coffee…

I’d tell you that actually the one I ordered was white. I am cheap and didn’t want to pay more for the purple one. So I bought the white one and then bought a (cheap) purple band.

Does color matter to you? If so, what’s your favorite color?


It’s also Friday so I’m also linking up with Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostess and visit some other bloggers.

Happy Running! Got anything to spill? Share it here!
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