Visions of races past

Yesterday was the hardest long run I've done in a while. I had 16 miles on the training plan, but this is my first full week getting back on regular training, so it felt like I was on week one and starting out with a 16 mile training run. Thanks to the 72 hour snow storm we had this week there was snow and slush and ice everywhere and basically the only clear stretch of running space was Central Park. I'm cool with running 16 miles on 6 mile loop...when I'm listening to music. And what did I forget to do yesterday before leaving the apartment? Yup, I forgot to upload a playlist onto Fenny.

So I had a silent 16-turned-into-15 miles, running circles around Central Park, in cold and snow that just wouldn't go way. On top of that it was warming up yesterday and the thick snow was melting off the trees. So throughout the run clumps of snow were falling down on me. Most were tiny clumps. But every now and then I'd get a hefty baseball sized one on the shoulder or arm. One clump landed square on eyebrow getting snow all up in my face. I guess the feeling is mutual: cold weather doesn't like me either.

Instead of continuing to be a Debbie Downer on the weather, I had to distract myself during the 2.5 hours spent battling the elements. As normally happens during a silent run my mind started wandering off to past races, which are always a source of pride and "if I did it then I can do it now" mentality. It helped that yesterday I was actually rerunning parts of the NYCM course.

I found it interesting yesterday that there are particular scenes from certain races that I constantly turn back to. They were mostly:

  • Miles 17-25 of The Flying Pig, when my race strategy had collapsed and it felt like the finish line would never come within sight or within reach
  • The last 1.5 miles of The Breakers Marathon where I chopped 20 minutes off my PR
  • The sprint to the finish at the Great Bay Half-Marathon
  • The hills section of the Boston Half-Marathon, where I learned what distance running meant
  • Every mile of the NYCM after Queens
It's funny that I completely blank on Baltimore (or as some will remember: MY FIRST MARATHON EVER) and the slew of Half-Marathons I have under my belt. It's also funny that the parts I pick to play over and over are usually the most challenging parts of the races. It's like I know I'm doing something hard now so I think of another time I did something similar and prevailed. I guess that's a healthy strategy to have, even if I did end up cutting the run short by one mile.

Here's hoping that next time I 1) can muster it up for the last mile and 2) remember to bring music with me. (I guess there is an unmentioned #3: stop running in the cold, but alas, that is not an option for now.)


Getting back in the groove

I'm starting get back in the swing of things with running: I've pretty much stuck to my schedule for the past week, and now that we are getting rain for the next four days all the snow and ice are melting away. On top of that, the sun is starting to rise earlier, so much that Monday morning the sun has almost mad it over the horizon by the time I finished my run.

If this training cycle has taught me anything it is that I really do not like running in the cold. It's cumbersome to deal with all the clothing. It's uncomfortable to breathe and move when it is sub-freezing. It's dangerous to run when there is snow and ice on the ground.

I feel like I can't run as fast because I don't want to get any colder. And I really hate being sweaty in the cold. Even thinking about all this makes me unhappy--it's like the hardest form of mental cross training you can imagine.
It was nice last year when my only outdoor run was on the weekend, because then I only had to deal with this once a week and I got to at least run during daylight hours. I think I have learned my lesson and will definitely be joining a gym for next winter. The trade off there will be having to do my weekday runs on a dreadmill. Yikes.


All your internet are belong to us

We finally have internet service at home! For some reason Time Warner (the occasional bane of my existence) cancelled our appointment last Saturday with no notice whatsoever. We ended up going a week without cable or internet service. Fortunately, Wifey was smart enough to check if there was some kind of signal on the existing wire, and sure enough we were able to pick up the broadcast networks through the cable line--so we have been able to keep up with the Olympics.

On the running front, I'm finally started to get back into training. A week of no running was horrible--as yesterday's 12 mile run proved. It is not going to be pleasant getting back up to speed. However, I did register for the National Half-marathon this morning, so that is set for March 20. Now to figure out accommodations.


Life in chaos

These past two weeks since the eye injury have been rough. If it wasn't being short staffed at work, then it was painting or "snowpocalyse." To top it all off we are on the last day of our move weekend. We got everything moved over in one day (thanks to two very dear and now tired friends) but after spending all day yesterday unpacking we stil have piles of stuff to go through.

And running? Well, between a big ass now storm on Wednesday and having no idea where my running clothes are, I have been not running for almost a week now. The good news is that DC is still over a month away so I should still be in good shape for that...I hope.

Off to keep unpacking.


Something new on the training plan

Now that I'm a couple weeks into training for DC/Wilmington I thought I'd share my fancy-shmansy training plan (click for the full size):

For those of you keeping detailed tabs, this is a lot like my NYCM training plan, except for a few small tweaks:
1. For each week I added a second "mileage" row. This helps standardize my actual runs and makes it easy to find that week's actual tally.
2. I kept my altered schedule from NYCM where I swapped Monday's rest day with Wednesday's easy run. (Originally had it the other way around.)
3. I increased the long run distances (per Higdon's Intermediate II), but kept all other mileages the same as NYCM.

One other thing, and it probably stands out the most: the bright red boxes that say "EYE INJURY." Yeah, that is a first not only for my training but also a first eye injury for me--does that mean I automatically get an eye injury recovery PR?

What happened? Well, we got our new apartment with the killer terrace. The landlord was nice enough to give us the keys now, even though we're not moving in until February 13 and we're not paying rent until February 15. With all this time between when we signed our lease and our move in date, we decided to paint the bedroom and living room before moving in because 1) it's easier without furtniture etc. in the way and 2) it's a fun weekend activity.

Last Saturday we rented a Zipcar in the morning and headed over to The Home Depot in our neighborhood to get paint and supplies. When we walk into THD we spot a stack of cardboard boxes ideal for moving. We grab a couple and try to fit them in the cart. No luck. So we decided to leave the boxes and grab them on the way out, but when Wifey took out the boxes from the cart she jammed one of the corners of the box under my glasses and right into my left eye.

OH MY GOD: the pain! The absolute pain!!

I hurried over to the bathroom to wash out the eye, because it was stinging like hell. In the bathroom I finally got a look at my eye. No bleeding, but man did it hurt. It hurt to open it and it hurt to close it, and it to move it in any direction. I hurried out and told Wifey that we had to leave and get to the hospital.

But when we get to the car and we sit down we realize a HUGE problem: Wifey doesn't know how to drive. We could call a cab or ask very nicely if someone could drive us, but then we had the problem of the Zipcar which had to be returned by 1:30PM. We couldn't just leave it in THD's parking lot because someone was scheduled for the car right after us.

I attempted to drive and got about a quarter mile away from THD before having Wifey call one of our friends to meet us. I just couldn't drive with the pain in my eye. However, none of our friends were dressed or any where near us. In the time it took to get people on the phone, explain the situation, describe the random street corner we were on, I had started to feel better. I felt good enough to open both eyes and look at Wifey and look at the street. I convinced myself I was good enough to drive to the hospital and our friends could meet us there.

Ten seconds into driving I regreted my decision. I had to drive with my right hand on the wheel while my left one covered my bad eye. I also could only look straight, moving my eyes left or right was tremendously painful. I closed my eyes at red lights and Wifey had to tell me when they turned green. I stuck to side streets and by some miracle made it to the hospital without getting into an accident.

The ER process was quick and rather painless. The PA told me I had a "fairly large" corneal abrasion--but he was trying to put it nicely, when he showed Wifey my stained eye she reacted with an "ooooooooh myyyyyy Goooood!" Essentially, I had gotten a paper cut in my eye. Fortunately it didn't seem that deep because the PA didn't see a need to patch my eye. He gave me antibotic drops and had me set up an appointment with an eye doctor.

I spent the rest of the weekend bed ridden, unable to do anything: I didn't realize how much I used my eyes. After the hospital we went to lunch with our friends who returned the car for us. I could barely eat because I couldn't open my eyes to see the food. Needless to say, we did nothing in the new apartment. Also needless to say, I did no running until I got the OK from the eye doctor on Monday afternoon.