Meh

I’ve been running and slooooowly improving.

I’ve gotten a little faster and what I mean by that is that it’s getting harder for walkers to pass me.

And still I worry that I won’t reach my goal.  An arbitrary goal, that I set, but a goal I really want to reach – an easy 11 minute mile.

For almost two months, after my half marathon, I haven’t missed a run. I run at the gym or the park with and without friends. I’m running 4 days a week – some slow and some fast. And I do my Iron Strenth workouts once a week.

And I feel…frustrasted is not the word, it’s more like a very long sigh. I’m a little faster for sure, but I still want to shave minutes off my pace, not seconds.

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Not running is really not an option, I’m a runner after all. So, I’ll keep at it.

Lately, I’ve been inspired by the Fat Girl Running blog by Mirna Valerio. I was excited to see she got a spread in the Wall Street Journal and is in the August issue of Runner’s World. She’s funny, super smart, black and a big woman who runs. She seems to worry little about her pace. She runs for the joy of running.

And I love to run, but I won’t lie.  I want to be faster. I know that an 11 minute mile isn’t really fast for most runners, but for me it’s the goal I cling to.

Mid-Year!

I recommitted to running in January. It was a New Year’s resolution. Six months later, I’m still running. I’m trying to think back about what prompted me to keep my resolution this year versus pervious years. I’m pretty sure it’s the fact that I’m getting older and that there are days I feel older.

And then there was the setting of a big public goal to run a half marathon! <– I’m pretty sure that was the icing on the cake that got my butt in gear. Who says the idea of public humiliation can’t be a motivator?

Running continues to be difficult for me.  These days I find myself running without audibly or mentally cursing. Now, that’s an impovement!

Next up is speedwork. I want to get faster. I’m tired of being in the back. As a back-of-the-packer at races I miss out on the best crowds, the yummy treats, and if I’m lucky I reach the water stations just as the volunteers are throwing the water on the street. Ugh!  It’s frustrasting.

My new goal is to stay with the pack, baby steps, right?  Next year, I’ll aim for the middle of the pack.

Speedwork is my new best friend.

Running Image 2

Right now I’m doing interval runs. And to keep me on track I’m registering for two 5K’s – one in August and the other in September.

A big part of being slow is my weight, I know. I’ve been working on that. I’ve lost ten pounds, twentyish more to go. And I’ve added the Iron Strength workout two days a week. Can I say that the burpees are killing me?! I can do three (on a good day), with good form and then collapse.

burpee

Fear not, my future in cursing is secure!

New Goals

Immediately after completing the Brooklyn Half-Marathon, I let myself recover slowly. I walked, stretched and walked some more. And then I ran.  It was hard, but it felt good. A few days after that, I started to plan my next set of running goals.

I’ve been easing my way back with short slow runs. My running buddies and I are coordinating schedules and figuring out when we can run and workout together, which is very exciting. I like running in a group.

I also want to increase my overall strength and gain muscle.

black woman with muscles

I’m starting with Dr. Jordan Metzl’s Iron Strength workout.

Running Strong

I’ve been reading Running Strong and I’m looking forward to learning how to continue to gain speed, endurance while staying injury free. I’ll probably register with New York Road Runner’s and take a class. I could use some coaching, someone who can guide me to the next level. And for community, I’m joining the local Black Girls Run group.

I’m working on short distances for now – 5K’s and 10K’s. I’ve got my splits from the half-marathon so I know what I’m working against.

And I’ve got my eye on another half-marathon in the early fall, but let’s keep it a secret for now ;).

Oh yeah – love is in the air

The AirBnB BK Half Marathon is complete, done, finished.

It was hard – from the first mile to the last. Every step felt tortuous, I never warmed up, it rained, actually poured the first 2 miles and if it wasn’t for my friends running with me and my lovely spouse and friends cheering for me along the route, I’m not sure what I would have done.

So to them go all the props!

Pre RaceMissing from this picture is L. who whoohoo’d, every mile, checked in with each of us, made sure we drank water and gatorade, ate food, and also made sure the other runners around us were also okay!  She flirted with race officials and cops, as well as running ahead and getting the crowd to cheer for us. And most impressively she danced her way to the finish line. She made me laugh, dance for just a moment, and made me wonder, why I doubted myself. She reminded me how well I trained, how prepared I was, how more than anything I deserved to believe in myself. She was in a word, magnificant.

O, pictured in the middle is wonderful. She gave me room to feel all my feelings, she’s really good at honoring people and their journeys. Training with her always grounds me. She reminds me that morning grumpiness is always acceptable and that I am better than I think I am. And she got me to do sprints!

M, on the far left is my ace!  We met almost every week, sometimes twice a week to get in our training runs. We laughed, gossiped and complained about running while we ran. She ran the whole race with a smile on her face, the whole darn race. She was a few steps in front of me as we crossed the finished line and she did what she has always done, she turned back to make sure I was by her side.

Running...FriendsIf you don’t have one, I recommend getting your own cheering squad. My best friend, on the far left, has been to almost every race I’ve run. She flew to San Franscisco to cheer me on in my first marathon, 11 years ago! This time around she asked for the date and made sure she was there. She’s always there. She is family.

L, second from the right is sweet and kind and a brillant artist (she’ll hate that I said that, but she is) and has become a part of our inner circle. Whenever we plan something big or small we can’t imagine the event happening without her presence. She’s made that extremely difficult for us these days, since she’s not as close as she used to be.

BT, on the far right is a confidant, best friend, trusted advisor and very much part of our family. She is always looking out for me, for us. Her heart is big and I’m glad I’ve got a piece of it.

And that lovely lady, K, second from the left is EVERYTHING. She takes care of me, loves me, and in general doesn’t take me at all seriously. She was both my cheering squad and coach. She made sure I ate and slept well.  She made sure I didn’t miss my runs, and stretched. No matter how tired, cranky she might have been – she always asked how my run was and listened.

I’m sure I’ve embrassed them sufficiently. I love them and want everyone to know it!

finishers medalMy finisher’s medal belongs them.

Almost there…

It’s almost time!  Woohoo! Yikes! Deep breath!

My lovely colleague T made this collage for me!

Running Machine

I was so moved I could barely say thank you.

It served as a reminder of how truly lucky I am.

It also reminded me of all the things I’ve gained during this training, things that have nothing to do with running:

  • No asthma during allergy season! (I can’t remember the last time I needed my inhaler.)
  • Walking up the 4 flights of subway stairs is almost easy.
  • My belt hooked on the second loop when I started, now it’s on the 5 fifth loop.
  • I’ve gone down at least one size.
  • I’ve lost almost 10 pounds.
  • Renewed confidence in my body and what it can accomplish.

running-goals-for-2015

As I continue running, here are my goals :

  • Run faster.
  • Run longer.
  • Run longer faster.
  • Run injury free.
  • Run my hometown marathon – the NYC Marathon.
  • Run races in other states and other countries.
  • Run well into my 80’s and 90’s.
  • And most importantly, continued health benefits.

See you on the other side!

Finish-Line

Grateful

I have incredible family and friends – they love me, challenge me, and support me in all my endeavors.

I’m so lucky to know them. I’m so lucky they love me.

It’s hard to fail (no matter what happens) with so many cheering me on.

4 days to go!  I’ve got two super short runs this week and then I get to relax before the big day.

I’m looking forward to the post-race celebration.

Balloon-Clip-Art

I’m looking forward to my future as a runner.

10 Days!

The AirBnB Brooklyn Half is in ten days.

Brooklyn Half

Deep breath. I’m nervous.  I’m excited.

I’ve kept up with my training. I still walk more than I prefer and running is a bit of a mixed bag. Sometimes it feels like wow, I’m running, and other times I just want to stop and go home.

I ran with my friend O and she had me doing interval and sprints. Intervals, no problem, but sprints?! Sprints!  I felt like a 9 year old girl, pony tail bouncing against my back, wind and sun in my face as I chased my school friends playing tag. It was amazing. Sprints will become a regular part of the routine.

Michelle, who will be by my side during the race, reminds me to just keep a study pace.

And I’m still nervous.

I’ve been hoping for a breakthrough in my running, one that will undeniable let me know that I’m runner.

I think the breakthrough is me saying I’m a runner.

Listen up, y’all — I am a runner.

A Glimpse

I haven’t been blogging, but I’ve been running.

My work schedule is busy and will only get busier for the next 5-6 weeks. You know, right along when my mileage continues to increase and the actual half-marathon happens.

Our long runs are up to 8 miles.  8. Wow.

It’s still hard, but last week I had a few moments of running that I actually enjoyed.

a glimpse

Those few moments took me completely by surprised.  In those few minutes, running was, I’m afraid to say it in case I jinx myself, but they were, e a s y. The moment came and went and then came and went again. My body and breath were in sync, I looked around at the budding trees and noticed the early blooming forthyias and magnolias. I might have even smiled.

It was a glimpse of what I imagine my running life could be – smooth, almost efffortless, not always, but most of the time.

The rest of the run was hard, as usual.

Night Run

Night run in Prospect Park

Last Wednesday, Michelle and I met for an afterwork weekday run.  It was such a treat. We usually do the weekday runs solo and report in via text. There were several running groups in the park doing interval training. We were inspired by their sprinting runs and we decided rather than do 4 miles, we would try interval runs.  This is not our first fooray into speedwork. Usually, once a week we push it, higher speed for long periods, but mostly on the treadmill.

We decided that we would run faster – not our fastest, but faster for 1 minute and then recover for 1 minute for about 30 minutes.  We were extremely pleased.  Our faster runs felt good.  It proved to us once again that we can pick up the pace, which we promised to do in our next weekday runs!

Those two things happening in one week, made me feel like something is happening, that my body is learning that quite possibly I could do this for the rest of my life.

8 miles here I come!

 

 

 

 

Beastmode vs. Tortoise

My endurance level is increasing. Woohoo! On the treadmill I feel superhuman, like Marshawn Lynch!

lynch beast mode

What!? On those days you can’t tell me nothing! Unlike Marshawn, I’m willing to talk about how good I feel and how fast I’m moving.

On the streets, however, I feel more like

op2_hare_and_tortoise

It turns out I’m running just a bit faster on the streets than I am on the treadmill.  Who knew?!

In the park, I feel heavy, bulky, slow and I’m still taking walking breaks.

How do I adjust my perception?  How do I start feeling on the streets like I do on the treadmill?

I’m still pretty terrified and the training continues. Week 4 is done and I’m half way through week 5!

Week 4 Training

Total miles for the week: 12.5

Best moment: Feeling super human after running 3.5 miles in under 55 minutes

Best song: Kanye West’s – All of the Lights

Longest run: 5