Monday, May 14, 2012

Remembering where I started...

Looking at my race pictures from today's 4 miler, I found myself being hypercritical about myself (critiquing my running form, the existence of a double chin, you name it).  I figured it would be interesting to take a step back, and compare where I am today to where I was when I started running.

This first picture is from Japan Day 2008, my 3rd NYRR race ever.  This was a huge milestone for me, because it was the first race where I broke 40 minutes in the 4 miler.  Obviously, I was carrying around a few extra lbs back then, and was still finding my way as a runner.

Fast forward to 2012:  I've lost around 50 lbs, and for the most part, have kept it off.  I still have more to do, but I'm happy with the progress I've made.  I've run numerous half marathons, 5 marathons, a Tough Mudder and am in training for my first two triathlons.  This is me, fighting my way to a 30:36 finish, which represents a 40 second improvement over my last 4 miler (last month), a 1 minute and 20 second improvement over my first 4 miler of the season, and a 9 minute improvement over that milestone race from 2008.

I have to remind myself that the continual pursuit of the best that you have to offer is what keeps me doing this, and that my life is drastically different now than I had ever imagined it being before I became a runner.  I have made so many amazing connections with incredible people, whether they are teammates at PRSFit, NY Flyers, JRunners, the Rogue Runner Posse, or just people I have come to know from Twitter and Facebook.  A big part of my success is due to the support, encouragement and camaraderie I get from these people.  For that, I can't thank you enough.

This season just continues to amaze me, and I can wait for what's still to come!

Friday, May 11, 2012

One spring goal down, one to go

Reflecting back on my goals for 2012, my spring goal race was a half marathon.  My objective at the time was to break 1:50:00 (which would represent a 5+ minute PR for me). The Long Island Half marathon was to be my goal race.

Unexpectedly, I was given a last minute opportunity to run the NYC Half, which is a race I had run several years ago, but haven't run since.  It's a huge race, but the second half of the course is net downhill.  Of course, I jumped at the opportunity.  Sparing you from having to read through an exhaustive race report, I had a great race, and achieved my spring half goal with a 1:48:59 finish (thanks in part to the huge boost I received from Abbe in mile 12).  Needless to say, I was thrilled with my time, and went into Long Island with the stretch goal of breaking 1:45:00.

Due to some GI Issues early on in the race, and an unexpectedly humid morning, by Mile 3 I knew that 1:45:00 wasn't happening.  I settled in for the long haul, and hope to at least beat my time from NYC.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get my hydration right, and was fighting back the urge to vomit.  By mile 8, I stepped off the course, actually hoping to be able to puke and get back to it.  A runner passed by, and encouraged me to get back and start running.  I did, and eventually felt better.

The race was long and the scenery was nothing spectacular.  Without music (another conscious decision), I had little to take my mind out of the race.  I slogged it through the miles, and worked to the very end.  In mile 12, we re-enter a park (where we started) and go on a long, meandering path to the finish.  I recalled looking ahead, tracing the curves with my eyes, in utter disbelief that people SO FAR AHEAD of me were still running.  The finish line was nowhere to be seen.  I pushed and I pushed, until FINALLY mile 13 arrived.  I put the hammer down, and sprinted the .1 miles to the finish.

Looking at my watch, I realized that I had broken 1:50:00, but still came in 35 seconds slower than NYC, on what was supposed to be an easier course.  I realized that due to the humidity and my initial discomfort, I really pushed a lot harder in Long Island than I did in NYC several weeks before.  I'm a lot happier with the effort I put in at Long Island, even if the results weren't there....

Next up: My first triathlon, the Olympic Distance Red Bank Triathlon with Matt and Scott.  Goal is to finish, have fun, and learn as much as I can as I prep for my first 70.3, the Rev3 Maine Triathlon.