Hi (She says sheepishly)!

I’m a little embarrassed that I haven’t made a blog post for a while.  I’m actually embarrassed to say how long it’s been.

Truth is I just stopped running.  I mean a full tilt stop.

Why?  It’s easier not to run.  It’s cold and dark outside.  I’ll spare you the excuse making.

At the end of the year I set a goal to get back to running.  If you’ve been watching the news you’ve heard of this thing called the Polar Vortex.  It is cold, impossibly, unmercifully cold, so cold Niagara Falls froze over!

Frozen Niagara Falls (2)

There were few breaks in the weather and I took advantage of them. I bundled up and ran or attempted to.  I couldn’t run.

I felt bad and stupid.

Homer Oops (2)

I pulled my running book down from the shelf and looked up the beginner series of running.  I’m back to a run/walk routine.  At the end of January I was supposed to be at 8 minutes running and 2 minutes walking intervals.  I’m at 5 minutes running and 2 minutes walking.  So running will progress slowly until winter starts behaving like winter in the North East and not like winter in the Artic!

To add a little more movement I’ve decided to do Shaun T’s two month Insanity workout.

I finished week one.  The fit test almost killed me.  It’s hard, y’all, but despite that I’m glad to be moving just a bit more than usual.

I’m back on the start line, this time I mean to keep going.

back to running 2 (2)

Re-start (again)!

It’s been a while, I know.

This past winter was filled with bitterly cold days and I did very little running outside. However, I did use the treadmill, elliptical machine and arc trainer at the gym, though admittedly not very consistently.

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In the spring I thought about running and I thought about it some more, but did nothing about it.

When I finally decided to get back on the running band wagon the heat wave began!

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I’m running in the gym most of the time. But at least once a week, very early in the morning, I meet a friend and off we go to run in the park.

Running is hard. I’m heavy and slow. I do it so that I can get lighter and faster. But I also do it because something about my loud rhythmic breathing, the shuffle of my steps, makes me feel peaceful.

While running I’m focusing on my pace, breath and legs. I’m thinking just make it to the next lamppost, the next tree, the next light. “Do it, Esther.” “You can do it Esther.” “Come on now, just one more step.”

Sometimes I can take that extra step and make it and sometimes I can’t.

Regardless how great or awful the run was, at the end of it my thoughts seem clearer and sharper. I feel I can tackle the day with some grace.

Running remains one of the hardest things I do physically. I can’t imagine giving it up. I fail at it more than I succeed, but I learn something every time.

I remain committed and have got my eyes on a few 5K’s in the fall.

Humbled by Running

Running is the most humbling thing I do.  It reminds me how far I’ve come and how far the road ahead is.

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My goal this year is to move further along that road.

Two weeks into my return to running and already I’m seeing improvements.  My fitness level has increased. That counts for a lot here in New York.  I’m constantly walking up and down subway stairs and it’s nice to get to the top and not want to collapse or gasp for each breath.

subway stairs

And as an added bonus I’ve lost almost 2 lbs.

My goals for January are simple:

  • Run three to four times a week.
  • Run 2 miles with no walking breaks.

May the new year bring you consistency in all you do.

Happy New Year!

2013 (2)

It’s been a good running year.

I thought about doing a running review for the year – calculate the miles I ran, the pace I kept, heck the race I finished (trust me I’ve got the spreadsheets), but the truth is none of that matters.

I wanted to run and I did.

And that makes me happy. I wish you could see the big grin on my face.

I haven’t posted in month and I didn’t run for a month. Work was kick-ass. I have no excuse. I simply didn’t manage my schedule. And I can already see that March will prove to be just as busy. Right now, I’m planning my work and working my plan. I’ve got new goals, which I’ll share soon.

But for now, know that I’m running. It’s been unbearably cold, but I’ve been out there with my girlfriends catching up, laughing and most importantly running.

Oh the joys!

Just the Stats

This post should have gone out yesterday,  but it was crazy at work and I just

couldn’t fit it in to my schedule!

Here is a quick update, my pace has been a little slow and a little fast. I had my fastest pace and slowest pace to date all in the same week.

Before Thanksgiving I ran at a 14:32 pace, which is the pace I ran my 10K back in October!  That was very exciting.

After Thanksgiving my pace was at 16:02.  I wasn’t surprised at all! I felt heavy!

Here is the even better news  I ran and lost weight during Thanksgiving week!

Total miles last week: 6.9

Weight loss: 1.2lbs

Run Easy

I ran four times last week. They were easy runs at a steady pace and only 2 miles each, but it felt good to be out there.

This week I go back to interval running. I’m committed to improving my pace, which means speed workouts – fartlek’s, and interval runs. There are a few other speed workouts out there, but for now I’m concentrating on these two.

I have to run hard to gain speed.

I’m finally ready for that.

I’m on the hunt for a half-marathon to do in the local area. I’m still hoping to go to New Orleans in Feb 2013, but in case I can’t, I’m searching for a half in NYC.

Total Mileage last week: 8 miles.

Restart

I’ve stopped, started, stopped and then restarted running ever since finishing my 10K in October.

And in between all that back and forth I weathered hurricane Sandy, jumped up for joy at the election results and a trudge through the snow of a 1-day nor’ester.

I’ve actually logged two easy runs since all that and it’s helped ground me, got me refocused on my running and fitness goals. The runs were short and sweet and just what I needed.

The next three weeks are about just rebuilding my running base. I’ve got my eye on a half marathon in New Orleans in February 2013.

New Orleans is my favorite city and home to my favorite football team. The city is filled with amazing people and phenomenal food.

I’ll know by the end of the month if my schedule will allow for a long weekend in New Orleans in February, but in the meantime I’m just running.

Might even do the Turkey Trot next week to keep those Thanksgiving calories in check.

Bad Week

Last week I ran once.

I know.  I know.

I’m committed to more.

I can tell you, I had a busy work schedule, an all day Saturday class and I was celebrating my mother’s birthday on Sunday.

It’s all true and it’s no excuse.

The one workout I did do was a speed workout and oh snap, my legs ached after the run.  They ached next day and the day after that.

Really? Get out then!

Here’s the workout schedule for this week:

  • Monday: Interval running. 3 minutes at my usual pace, 6 minutes just a little faster, six times. Complete. Woohoo!
  • Wednesday: 6 x 400 speed work outs.  What this means, is that I run 400 meters fast, six times with slow jogging in between.
  • Friday: an easy 3 miles
  • Saturday: a slow 6 mile long run

Mileage total last week: 2

Speed workouts without cursing: 0

Weight loss: 0

I finished my 10K  in 1hr and 31min, at  a 14:34 pace.  That was a great time for me.  You can read the recap here.

I wasn’t used to running that fast for that long.  So I walked some of the race.

But I finished and I’m proud of that.

Speed.

It’s a little lonely at the back; immediately ahead of you, a stretch of empty road.

I’ve been in the back of the pack for a long time now. It’s disheartening to come upon empty water stations and hardly any spectators, with the faster runners looking like bouncing dots way up ahead.

It’s time to make the push to run faster, to train harder.  It’s not enough to finish anymore.  I want personal records.  My fantasy…to run an 11 minute mile.

Right now, my pace is hovering in the 14:40s.  I’ve got a ways to go.

I honestly don’t know how long it will take me to run an 11 minute mile.  My goal for the moment is to be able to run a 13 minute mile by the end of the year.

There is that number again -

Lucky 13!

I’m running 4 days a week, starting this week, with two of those runs focusing on speed.

I’ve done one already, it was hard, but it felt good to be moving faster.

Oh and I’ve got my eye on a 15K (9.3miles) race in December.

Mileage total last week: 5.47

Speed workouts without cursing: 0

Hard Run, Great Friends and a little Pork Chop!

Sunday was race day!

My wonderful neighbor, Morgan was confused about the date of my race and placed this great sign on the door last week. It was a wonderful surprise.

Morgan (aka – great neighbor)

All week long it served as inspiration as I recovered from my cold and did everything I could to be ready for race day.

On Sunday morning I met Michelle, my wonderful running buddy.

And picked up my number.  Lucky 13.

Not long after Ogonnaya showed up with her group of friends.

Ogonnaya, Elena, Michelle and I ran together.  We had a blast!  We chatted and laughed. I did a little walking too.

As we ran, we were cheered on by children, church ladies, and folks standing at corners either amazed or dismayed.  We were called models, invited to stop and stay for a while and offered rides.  One guy saw all four of us run by and said, “Now that’s a lot of pork chop.”  It was too funny to be insulting.

The cops were great.  We tried to thank all of them as we went by them.  It was cold and damp out there and they were standing at the corners stopping traffic on our behalf.  They encouraged us every step of the way.  One cop told us to slow down, he needed the overtime.  We thanked him for that. We couldn’t have gotten any slower.  We were the back of the pack! We had our own police escort.

My wonderful partner Kim invited friends to cheer for me and my friends along the route.

It was wonderful to suddenly come upon Llanor, Kate & Olivia, Chrissy, Josh and little baby Matty all waving, clapping and cheering for us.

And if that wasn’t enough, The Lovely Kim, the Wonderful Anika and the Divine Turk showed up at the start, miles 1, 4, 5 and the finish!

Clockwise – the Wonderful Anika, The Lovely Kim and the Divine Turk – My Cheerleaders

My cheerleaders yelled, “You can do it.” “Go, Esther, Go.” And my favorite, “Run, Forest, Run.”  They took pictures, jumped up and down, and clapped and then dashed off to the next mile and did it all over again.

I’m so profoundly blessed to have these women in my corner, to count them as friends. I cannot say enough about who they are for me.  They fill my life with joy, laughter, and happiness.

At the finished I got hugs from new friends – Elena — and old friends – Llanor, Cheryl, Nzinga and my cheerleaders!

At the Finish!

As for the running it was hard! Hard like it was in the beginning.  It was cold and damp and my legs felt tight the whole time.  And I did more walking than I would have wanted to, but my running buddies — Ogonnaya, Michelle, and Elena (not pictured) kept me moving and … reminded me that I could do it.

Ogonnaya, Michelle and Me.

We set the goal to finish at 1hr and 43 min.  We finished 1hr and 31min!

Wow!