teaser (bear with me…)

IT’S COMING, IT’S COMING!

My post(s) recapping and reflecting on the amazing experience that was Hood to Coast with Nuun is coming Saturday. New Jersey greeted me in a not-so-pleasant way Monday morning post-red-eye flight (stress stress stress stress). Needless to say, I have had no time to adequately process in words the journey that was last Wednesday through Sunday. In fact, I am looking forward to re-living it all again in my blog posts! Which is…sad, but it’s the nature of what has become known as the “HTC hangover” (#HTChangover).

For now, a short preview in photos….

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Seaside-20130825-02488I will be wishing I could get in a white van and roll through mountainous countryside with a bunch of awesome ladies for the next day or so while I’m at work (and running a XC 5k…more on that later as well)…and playing this song over and over again in my head just because it’s awesome. Until then, sit tight: real HTC posts coming very soon!

Here is also an awesome video vanmate Laura made!

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pre-HTC

Tomorrow is The Day! Or…today. I should really be sleeping. Instead I’m icing, because I feel like crap.

You know those blogs that only post the good things that happen? The great runs, the fun trips, god forbid the descriptions of high quality food or the mentioning of the significant other like this phenomenon is a normal constant in everyone’s lives. I have no desire for this [blog] to be one of them. After Sunday’s seemingly productive activities, I knew the past two days were going to be crazy given that I was working all day both days, but I didn’t expect them to be as stressful as they were. Think: budget crises plus work responsibility overload plus stress that life is just a huge catch-22 and there is no way to get to where I want to be without sacrificing things I’m not sure I even currently have. Phew.

Well, that all happened in 48 hours, apparently. Plus a self-cancelled workout when my¬†other ITB started feeling like a thick rope (also bruised now?) and AR/nausea appeared (like for the last ore-marathon workout…) tonight on my warm-up to the track. So that sucked – having to go home and lie down instead of hang out with my friends. Or run intervals, same thing.

Needless to say, I haven’t been feeling like myself this August (or July…), and it is my hope that starting tomorrow through Sunday, when I am off having the experience of a lifetime, I can forget about all the things that are making me beyond frustrated and helpless. I’ve never spent 24+ hours in a van with all females before in my life, and it just could be what I need right now. If not, then I’ll pretend it is for their sake. ūüėČ I need to let my crazy, shoe nerd self back out again and not overthink life. And people (oh, people…).

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In the meantime, I need more ice.

Fun fact of the day brought to you by the TSA: you can’t take energy gels in your carry-on bags!!!

Wish me luck as I take on an airport for the first time in almost 6 years.

Trail runs in Maine & New Jersey

Maine

I was in Maine all week visiting family…my training schedule ended up being as follows:

Sitting in the front yard?

Sunday: off, drove for 12 hours and got exceedingly stiff. No fun. ūüė¶ I didn’t feel too bad from the 5k Saturday though, at all.

Monday: I ran about 6.5 miles from the house we were staying in; some gravel road and some uneven paved road. I tried to take it easy and hardly looked at my watch. In fact, I turned off the tones so I wouldn’t be aware of each mile split, and I’ve been enjoying it. My splits (with rolling hills) ended up looking like this….

Oh, and the weather was nice!

Nice biking.

 

 

In the afternoon, I decided to take my Garmin on a kayaking adventure… apparently you average 22 minutes per mile when you try to kayak in whitecap waves…needless to say, it was a bit too windy to be out there, so we turned back.

Tuesday: I biked 26 miles in ~1:44. I went to Schoodic and took the road through Acadia, which was nice and smooth. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of a view…just fog. I averaged 19-20 mph on the roads I think; I was extra careful with my tires on the dirt roads to and from the house.

Wednesday: I took off from running and biking and hiked a couple hours up some mountains in Acadia on Mt. Desert Island.

Thursday: This was the best day…I roped my uncle, aunt, and brother into a trip to Eagle Lake for a run. I ran ahead while my aunt ride her bike on the carriage trail, and my brother and uncle ran about a minute per mile slower behind me. I went into this run unsure of how I’d feel…and almost preparing for the worst. I was relieved to feel somewhat normal, just tired. See, I’ve been feeling something not right in my ITB since probably Monday, the same feeling of a knot in the surrounding quad muscles as I had before the triathlon. I think I’ve concluded that it is just bruising from breaking up scar tissue with my roller. Which leaves me with a dilemma, because now I’m not sure to roll or not to roll….Anyway, I ran 9 miles – farthest since the marathon (and injury, obviously)!

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Lobster for dinner:Image

Friday: Morning ITB PT, afternoon bike.

Saturday: Easy 3 miles on the dirt road before driving back to NJ.

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New Jersey

It was a rather productive first day back, despite feeling…well, not very well. The ITB bruising has gotten worse, and there is still a definite knot in my lateral quad. It doesn’t bother me when I’m actually running, which is¬†really good.¬†I just can’t decide if I should continue being a masochist for my own good or not. It’s confusing. Because the “knot,” to which the area will hereafter be referred, felt so weird in the morning, I decided to run later.

Side note: there are only 3 acceptable reasons not to do your long run in the morning on Sunday:

1.) You’re really hungover¬†You aren’t feeling well & know you’ll be able to do the whole run and run stronger later in the day

2.) You can have company on the run if you wait

3.) A body part (ITB, calves, etc.) needs to warm up

In this case, my situation was #3. I just needed time to address the bruised-ITB-quad situation before heading out for the run. Also, morning yoga was free. Afternoon yoga was not.

I just did 9 miles Thursday so I figured I would just do that again, and my Thursday + Sunday would somehow even out to “normal” mileage? Basically, I wanted to do about 9 miles. End nonsensical pre-HTC post-injury banter. I went to yoga in the morning, then cleaned and organized my entire room, then set off for Six Mile Run around 5:00 PM.

Six Mile Run is a park worth its own post. I first ran there during cross country preseason in August 2010, and have been back in December, and today of course. I only didn’t get disoriented there once. Guess which time? The first of course. Makes no sense. I think the fourth time will be a charm though – I figured out there is no hope at the end of the red trail! I found some new trails across a road today, though, which was fun. They didn’t give me much trouble. I got a little sucked in and wanted to go farther and farther, but made myself turn around at about 5 miles just in case the disaster that was December’s run happened again. That day, I intended on running 7 miles…and did about 14. For a cautious runner like me, that’s not cool.

Today’s route….

Let’s zoom in on that one part:

Garmin’s worst nightmare?

The coolest thing about the park is that you feel like you can just…roll. There are so many little ups and downs and boardwalks and other strange bridges. Parts of the trail are like rollercoasters. This is also the reason I almost got run over my mountain bikers, but hey, there was only one occurrence! Apparently mornings are the peak time, so I’m glad I avoided that.

Not my photo - phone camera was being weird. It also wasn't sunny today.

Not my photo – phone camera was being weird. It also wasn’t sunny today.

Park trail map. I don't think I'll forget that the red trail dead-ends anymore. Although ot also ends up back at Canal Rd. mysteriously, so...might have to get to the bottom of that someday.

Park trail map. I don’t think I’ll forget that the red trail dead-ends anymore. Although it also ends up back at Canal Rd. mysteriously, so…might have to get to the bottom of that someday.

I believe only one run stands between me and Seattle (OMG OMG OMG)! The plan is to cross train Monday and Tuesday and also do the Intervals workout Tuesday night. Wednesday will be a travel day and then I’ll be off on my Hood to Coast adventure! As for the bruising I’ve inflicted…well, I’ll just try to find a happy medium and throw some ice on that.

ALSO, I NEED GARMIN HELP!!!¬†Maybe somebody can help me, even though every blog and manual I’ve read so far has not. I have a Garmin Forerunner 210. I got it in April, but because I haven’t been able to do tons of workouts between now and then, I’m just getting around to seriously answering this question now. What I want to do is what I do with my simple Timex: have the time running, press a button to take a split, and see the current time¬†for that split.¬†I know how to take a split on the watch, but I only see the total time on the screen. I can go online later and view everything, but I’d like to view it at the time. So, it seems like I’m actually having a display setting issue – the watch will do what I want it to, just not show me what I want to see. I’ve tried playing around with everything and can’t figure it out. I can program in a workout, but how often (when I’m with a group) do we actually take exactly 2 minutes of rest, or the loop is exactly 0.6 mile, or something?¬†

Any help would be MUCH appreciated (if you read this far…fit a lot into this one post, oops!)

Perfect 10’s Perfect Pair Model Search

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I wrote in a previous post that I am running the inaugural CGI Racing Perfect 10 Miler at Mercer County Park on October 13th. It’s going to be an awesome event, and I recently found out that there will be a “Pampering Party and Expo” the day before, in the park’s indoor hockey rink. The goal is to make it not an ordinary expo, with stimulation overload and samples being thrown into your face. Rather, it sounds as if it will be a shopping experience for women, complete with yoga classes and…a fashion show! It will also be open to the public. The event’s Facebook page is currently hosting a “model search” for the show, in which a pair of women who are running the race can submit a photo and a description of why they represent the event’s core values (and thus be a part of the show).

As soon as I heard about it, I got excited and wanted Brennan and me to submit our entry as best running friends! So, I did…you can vote for it here! We’re kind of lagging behind…I’m not doing a very good job spreading the word since I’m not home in NJ, but keep in mind we want to do this for the message behind it, not the clothing! Vote for us! ūüôā

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…and if you haven’t registered yet, you can do that¬†here.

Don’t worry, I’ll be writing posts with more substance again very shortly….

 

Saucony Guide 6 review!

Forgive me for the delayed post, things have been quite busy! And I haven’t even started packing for Hood to Coast…mostly because I’m not home, I’m in Maine. More on that later. For now, my much-awaited review of the Saucony Guide 6….

Last Thursday, we had Saucony at our weekly group run from the store. Saucony is one brand I sell a lot, but have never actually worn through a pair of shoes myself. I have a pair of Cortana’s that were fun to run in, but just a tad small, so I just wear them to work now. Brennan came to the run and we are the same size, so she snagged the single pair of 8.5 Guides. I didn’t want to run in the Ride, and I wanted to do a run of decent length…too risky for the Kinvara with a 5k in two days. The 8 was decidedly too small, and so I set off with the group in my Ravennas, planning on doing a mile or so after in Kinvaras. We ran toward the Institute Woods, at who knows what pace – I forgot my Garmin at home. Just before the entrance to the woods, Brennan had a great idea – we could switch shoes so I could get a chance to run in the Guide too! That’s when you know you’ve got a great running buddy. So, we took off our shoes while testing our balancing skills, and finished with the Guides on my feet and the Ravennas on hers. Success!

I got to wear them on both trails and roads, so it gave me a good idea of how they felt. The verdict:

8.0 mm heel-to-toe difference: I¬†did not notice a difference at all from any other shoe with a 10 or 12 mm drop. So perhaps it’s true that the only person it would hypothetically make a difference in is a runner with chronic Achilles tendinitis….

Cushion:¬†They are¬†softer than the Ravenna and the Rider. Much softer. Even though the Ravennas I switched out of were old, the Guide just has a softer feel – it’s all personal preference though. Some runs I think I would enjoy this, other runs (like workouts), maybe not.

Fit: When we first got in the Guide 6, I thought it was too narrow on the outsides of the forefoot. I have no idea what my feet were doing that day Рthey are not. They actually look like I tied them tighter than I do other shoes. 

I’m glad Brennan got to try them for a bit too – I ended up selling them to her immediately after! Word on the street¬†trails is she likes them.¬†

NUUN giveaway (and storytime)!

It is really obvious that I love Nuun. 

First, they chose me to be on their 2013 Hood to Coast Team. That should be enough of a reason, no?

But seriously, Nuun as a product is awesome. I have never taken a liking to any other sports/electrolyte drink out there, finding them too sugary, too heavy, too light, too…not better than water. So, I used to only hydrate with water. Clearly, that isn’t good enough on hot and humid summer days in New Jersey, and so that fact, plus stocking Nuun at work, led me to try it. And…the Boston expo in 2012, when our Running Company booth was two booths away from Nuun, and the water fountain was about 150 meters and 1,500 people away. I’ve managed to try nearly every flavor, and my favorites are…

Watermelon, Tropical, Banana, Grape (actually in the opposite order, oops).

I could say lots of good things about Nuun, but here’s what Nuun has to say themselves:

“Nuun Active Hydration is the #1 selling sports drink tab in the cycling, running and outdoor specialty marketplaces. As education about hydration and wellness grows, Nuun has become more accessible to a wider range of people. In response, Nuun has expanded its product line from sports performance hydration to include two all natural, vitamin-enhanced products for every day use, Nuun All Day Hydration and U Natural Hydration.¬†Be it a bike ride, a long day at the office, or a day at home juggling kids, Nuun has a tablet and flavor customized to help you stay healthy and hydrated.” – from Nuun.com

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Speaking of Nuun All Day, I’ve actually started to drink it in place of a multivitamin¬†(since I can’t swallow big pills and chewable ones taste gross…)! I recommend Blueberry Pomegranate.

 

 

So…I promised a giveaway of this good stuff. This is my first giveaway on my blog, and I’m not going to do it without providing a catch! As an introduction to the catch…you may recall my last blog post about the 5k I did on Saturday. There is a good reason I’m not linking to the post. See, I mentioned how I was 99% sure that in the age group photo that was taken of me and the winner with the National team (most of whom I personally know, so that makes this worse, I think), I looked at the second camera instead of the right one (she was wearing a USRowing staff shirt!). Well, I saw the thumbnail and it looked like I was right. I thought it wouldn’t ¬†be a big deal, because it was just on a Flickr sight nobody visits. But of course, it had to be chosen for the homepage of a website.¬†Greattt.¬†And I thought no one would ever see it. So, that was awful. No one should go searching for it, by the way. I have hardly looked at it and I refuse to.

My point: I would like you to share with me (in a comment on this post) a story of when something ( a photo or the like) came back to haunt you/embarrass you online! Running-related or not. The best story wins a 4-pack of Nuun! Also add which flavor you would like to try!

 

To distract you from searching for me online, here is a lovely Nuun photo that was floating around on my computer….

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And THIS, which I saw upon visiting the Nuun website!!!

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(That’s me!!!)

Go for the Gold 5k race report + support Team USA!

So…I ran a 5k today. Not my typical Saturday morning routine, unlike a lot of runners. I’m usually getting in some sort of training for a longer race ahead, and so when I still felt sub-par yesterday from River to Sea, I was almost about to bail and run nine miles on trails instead (something that sounds five times more fun and familiar to me…). However, I went and raced, and I’m glad I did!Image

I signed up for the race after feeling pretty left out when my ITB forced me to cheer on my friends from the sidelines for a 10k and a 5k in June and on the 4th of July. I especially felt frustrated when my Intervals group entered as a team in a couple races and I couldn’t be on it. So, when the Go for the Gold 5k was brought to the table and sparked interest among some group members, I jumped at the opportunity to finally join the crowd, and registered. Unfortunately, only one other group member actually ran it; other commitments prevented some who originally were thinking of running from showing up. I also wanted to do it because it was organized by USRowing, and proceeds went to the America Rows Program (hey, remember when I learned to row???).

Race tee…

So, I showed up at Mercer County Park…the only place I seem to race these days…a little before 9:00 AM to get in a good warmup. The race started so late; it was almost difficult to sleep later, so I ended up being 0% rushed. The start was on the grass by the picnic area that was actually the turn-around at the triathlon. It was very low-key and very cross country. I saw a girl who had been wearing a Rider XC t-shirt lining up next to me near the front, and I had a feeling she would be pretty fast. She was also wearing old Nike spikeless Milers. Side note: I anticipated this post being extremely entertaining: an intense recap of how I was determined to beat the girl who ran those two races I wanted to run and ended up placing, to my frustration since I wasn’t even able to race to even compete against her. She didn’t end up running this race, so there went that goal. I tried pretending any female in front of me was her, but it didn’t quite work.

The race course was pretty simple:

ImageWhen I found out my “rival” would most likely not be there, I needed another goal. After surprising myself by running 6:27 pace for the last leg at R2C, I thought it would be cool to try to do that again for 3.1 miles (versus the 2.35 that night). That would give me a 19:59, and breaking 20 minutes was something I’ve always wanted to do on the roads. My ITB started feeling knotty this week though, leaving me to decide I should not kill myself trying to do that, since Hood to Coast is soon.¬†And anyway, it is ridiculous to suggest I should shoot for a 5k PR coming off of an injury and having hardly done any workouts yet (just one)….In the end, my splits ended up being the following:

g4tg5ksplits

So, this was actually a road 5k PR (with a grass start and finish, but oh well)! I haven’t ran a 5k that fast since 2007, and my previous 5k road race PR was 20:59, from 2006 (again, I don’t do this often…). Not too bad for this strange post-injury time period! I didn’t get passed after the small grass field at the start, and I passed about three people during the second half. My official time and stats were:¬†20:29.8 (average pace of 6:36), 8th place overall, 3rd female overall, 2nd in F20-29 age group.¬†I was glad the woman I could see up ahead who ended up running 19:56 was 30 (she didn’t look it)! I saw plenty of recent Running Co. customers, including my uncle’s dentist (?), and a bunch of National Team rowers I knew, who ended up presenting me with my medal. Pictures aren’t up yet but I was definitely looking at the wrong camera and still sweating buckets in the middle of my three mile cooldown, so it will be splendid I’m sure.

Takeaway message: take chances. Training isn’t always perfect. That doesn’t mean you can’t surprise yourself and feel good about it. It’s about pushing yourself and having a good time while doing it, no matter who is running with you, who is watching, and how “ready” you are for that race distance.

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Coxed Pair pwning the other team by 48 seconds in the final....

Coxed Pair owning the other team by 48 seconds in the final….

This is a fitting post in which to insert a promotional plug of sorts. Not for a shoe, or a quadballer, or anything of the sort. For my friends, who qualified on Wednesday (I¬†watched…such a crewpie) for the Rowing World Championships in South Korea in the Men’s Coxed Pair. The coxed pair is not an event funded by USRowing; therefore, they must raise funds for their entry and all other expenses themselves. They have made a donation page and really appreciate your support! They leave on Friday, and the Championships are August 26-September 1. I’m very excited for them that they have made the team this year, and I have no doubt they will represent the US well and hopefully bring home some shiny hardware in a few weeks!

Here is a video of them practicing on the Schuylkill (no I have yet to spell that correctly on the first try) if you’re interested!

USRowing-logo-2-color-01Thanks for reading on after the race report! Check back soon for my Saucony Guide 6 review!

River to Sea Relay 2013!

On Saturday, I ran the 18th Annual River to Sea Relay. Back in February or March, I rounded up six runner friends to form Team Runnerds. We were an eclectic bunch; not many people knew one another, but they all knew me (this is typical; I’ve never been one to be a part of an exclusive group). For the sake of better understanding this story, I will give a short introduction to my team members….

Brennan: you all know her by now. Steve: he works at a sister Run Co store, and I worked with him at the NYC Marathon expo. Lisa: she was a sprinter and jumper on my college track team and jumped (that pun was only discovered upon proofreading…wow) at the opportunity to try out R2C when I initially posted a plea for team members on Facebook. Marty: he is a regular Intervals attendee and lives along the R2C course. Martin: he has accompanied me on a few long runs this year, including the 13 miler through Princeton, the run to Lambertville (except not really…if you recall that story), and my first two-hour run. He is also the founder of the recoverosa. Emily: a co-worker who I have run many, many miles with over the past three summers. ¬†She also filled in for a runner on my college team during R2C in 2011, so she was a veteran.

Friday night, Brennan and I prepped by peeling the nauseating film (really) off of her Franklin-20130802-02242passenger window with help of a hairdryer and a trip to Home Depot. After setting up my living room for a slumber party of sorts, we all finally headed to sleep. We had a 5:30 wake-up call in the morning, and began filling the water jugs and making sure we were set for the long day ahead. Brennan picked up Emily, Steve, Lisa, and me at 6:15 and we were on the road around 6:30. We stopped at Wawa for ice and food and continued on through the countryside to the start in Milford. We were using Martin’s car as our second vehicle, and he picked up Marty.

Team 99 at the start!

Team 99 at the start!

Our start time was 8:30 AM. This kind of troubled me, and others who had done the relay before, because that is late. The race directors assign each team a start time according to their estimated finish time, which is in turn estimated by the sum of each runner’s 5k race times. The slowest teams begin at 6:00 AM, and the fastest at 9:30 AM. Technically there are teams that would start in the 10:00 hour, but they changed some rules, and those teams started at 9:30 and were then purposely held up accordingly midway through. Nobody likes starting late. Most teams fudge a little and write slower times to get an earlier start time….I erred on the side of caution and didn’t write anyone’s PR, but it still got us a relatively late start time. I trusted the officials, though (there will be more to say about that later).

First exchange.

First exchange.

Steve ran the first leg…he kind of missed the start due to wanting to warm up to PA acrossthe bridge…but it was all good; only a few seconds were lost. He ran a fairly speedy ~4.8 miles and then tagged off to Brennan to run the leg known as “the Best.” I drove her car during this time, and Steve and Lisa helped to give her water.

Next was Martin’s leg on the towpath. There weren’t many places to stop and give¬†him¬†water…we actually had an incident in which he passed us and we missed him! He was running significantly faster than we expected, so we had to meet him at the next spot to give him water! Luckily he laughed about it…and he got some water. It had been pretty chilly in the morning, and now it was steadily raining. It has never rained during any year I’ve done this relay, so that was strange!

The next exchange was at the famed CVS: the start of the Beast! Marty was ready to run through his town one last time before moving to DC. I remember biking up this hill in May and it was pretty brutal. We gave runners all the support and encouragement we could by yelling out the car windows as we drove up the hills and to the next exchange…the start of my leg!

This was different than previous years because there was a bridge out on the course…the Beast was forced to end 0.5 mile early, and no cars were allowed to stop at that point. All the stage 4 (Beast) runners were shuttled to the stage 5 start, where the car not giving the stage 5 runner (me) water was to wait for their runner. This all meant that when Marty finished his leg, I would be told to start mine via walkie-talkie. So weird! But it worked.

Leg 1: Stage 5, “Rolling and a bit tight”

Back when I thought running in a visor would be cool.

While the Beast was over, this leg started with more of an uphill than I anticipated. I hadn’t felt like myself all day – I hate it when those days are the days you really need to be on your game! My stomach felt off, I felt like my legs were tight and swollen, etc. But whatever, I had to get it done. My shins were tight for the first couple miles, something I used to experience all the time but haven’t in awhile. Figures. It was still raining, but that was kind of nice. The part of the course before downtown Hopewell I wasn’t entirely familiar with, but it was just an uphill stretch through the woods. Heading into Hopewell I was in familiar territory, and I was excited to run through it. I have memories from this spring and earlier this summer of some fun, sunny, relatively happier times in that town (but whilst injured), and it felt fitting to barge through it now on foot in the rain. Around two miles or so into the stage, a deafening sound emerged directly to my left. Since Boston, I have been scared out of my mind any time there is a sudden loud noise, so this was not something that I should have witnessed! Apparently Hopewell uses a siren on a tall pole to notify area fire stations when there is a fire (or was it noon…?). I figured this out pretty quickly when I saw the thing, but it was still jolting. It also caused me to pick up my pace by about fifteen seconds a mile….

r2cleg1

I continued on through Hopewell and into more familiar roadside in Skillman, legs

Brennan giving me water that I probably didn't take (sorry! Thank you!).

Brennan giving me water that I probably didn’t take (sorry! Thank you!).

feeling¬†better post-siren. I had yanked off my visor and given it to Brennan early on…apparently I like the idea of running in visors…but not actually wearing them. Who knew? The leg was supposed to be 6.2 miles, so the finish in Blawenburg came up on me super quickly. I sprinted it in when I realized that, and tagged off to Emily. My Garmin had only 5.95…oh well? Another thing to note: I didn’t see¬†a single runner¬†during my leg. What?! That wasn’t cool. I expected by stage 5 to be able to run with, get passed by, or pass at least one other person! I saw a lot of cars donning R2C bib numbers though, most of which honked as they drove by.

Splits: 7:25, 7:14, 6:55, 7:06, 7:02, 6:32 (0.95) = 5.95 miles in 42:16, 7:07 average

The other car gave Emily water for her leg, so we headed straight to Forrestal Village to

I found this stick on the side of Route 29 during stage 2 and it worked perfectly....

I found this stick on the side of Route 29 during stage 2 and it worked perfectly….

take Lisa to her start. It was still cool and rainy; quite a change from the heat everyone had experienced this Saturday every other year! At Forrestal, we saw lots of other people we knew, snapped some photos, and ate a little lunch out of the cooler.

Lisa’s leg was short and sweet, ,just 3.9 miles. She “handed off ” (there was nothing to actually hand off) to Marty for “Oasis”: the first leg of the second half of the relay! 5.5 miles later and Marty was finished for the day. The ninth leg was the dreaded “long and hot,” which Steve ran. Luckily, today it was not so hot, but it was still long (9.1 miles). At the next exchange, we saw more people we knew, and took more pictures….

The Wild Card was next! I was the driver for this, and Emily and Brennan were¬†the¬†runners. Brennan started out with four miles…and then we hit traffic. Three years ago, the traffic was so bad for this stretch that one of our runners ended up doing an extra¬†two miles because we couldn’t catch up to her in time to switch runners! Luckily, it subsided after a busy intersection and both of them were able to alternate miles as planned. They took turns running two miles at a time after Brennan’s first four, and seemed to have a lot of fun doing it! Oh, and it got sunny, if you were keeping track. The Wild Card is a stage I think I would not normally choose, just because of the open-endedness of it, but I probably should try it someday for that exact reason.

Relay in a relay! Aka Wild Card leg.

Relay in a relay! Aka Wild Card leg.

After that 13.9-mile stretch, the end seemed a little more near. Lisa ran the next leg and ended up getting some cramping, which was unfortunate. We had a little incident with a race official at one point when we were giving her water. He seemed to question our ability to finish the race by 8:30 PM, since “our runner was hurting.” However, the 6-mile stage was almost over, and she was going to be fine. Also, that would mean taking more than two hours to cover twelve miles, which was definitely not going to happen. So, that pissed

Almost there!

Almost there!

us off, mostly because our designated start time left us with a twelve-hour maximum to get from the river to the sea, which is a 7:54 average. While that sounds reasonable, it doesn’t leave room for runners who end up going an average-run pace for whatever reason, or end up stopping due to sickness, injury, etc. I don’t think we ever had that pressure of a sub-12 requirement before, with similar-speed runners…making us deduce that they screwed up with giving us an 8:30 AM start time. Anyway, after that whole mess, Martin ended up doing his second leg (“Do-or-Die” – my favorite!) while we drove to my start.

Leg 2: Stage 14, “Final Sprint to the Sea!”

Finishing up the 91 miles!

Finishing up the 91 miles!

That same race official showed up there as well, firing me up to do my leg as fast as possible to prove to him that we would finish way before 8:30 PM. Also that they screwed up and we should’ve started at 7:45 or 8:00. Anyway. I didn’t really have a plan; the final leg was 2.5 miles with a 2-minute mandatory stop (they did this periodically throughout the race for fairness…New Jersey has a lot of traffic lights!). I was just going to try to run fast and feel decent. And get us to the darn sea, finally. Martin came through on the Allaire State Park bike path and slapped my hand. I set off and tried to control my pace at least for a mile or so….Overall, I felt pretty spent and was breathing harder than my first leg, but I was satisfied with my effort on the day that it was. Above all else, I was so, so grateful to be running River to Sea in the first place, after all the doubts I had only a month before (just my first day back after 7 weeks of injury)!

Splits: 6:21, 6:33, 2:15 (0.35…this was short too). 2.35 miles in 15:10, 6:27 average

We made it! (Never mind my eyes…)

Jumping in after a long day’s work!

Our team finished the relay in 11 hours and 19 minutes (average pace of 7:27). We celebrated with some pizza, a jump in the ocean, and a longggg car ride back in the dark.

All done.

All done.

¬†Some more worthwhile pics….

Running Co. pic! We managed to have five employees on four different relay teams!

Running Co. pic! We managed to have five employees on four different relay teams!

Everyone at the Inlet before we left.

Everyone at the Inlet before we left.

Some equations...

River to Sea is easy as pie (pi was cut off from the frame, oops).

EINSTEIN RUNS.

EINSTEIN RUNS. I was accused of giving him “Guido hair,” so we fixed it later.

River to Sea was so much fun as usual, and it was like a warmup for HOOD TO COAST, which I am getting sooo pumped up for! I fly to Seattle two weeks from tomorrow!!!

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Big news for my favorite running buddy!

This is loosely related to River to Sea, but whatever, I’m going to add it here. Brennan was invited to join the Oiselle Team! I am so excited for her, she is perfect for their team! I gave her a Oiselle temporary tattoo I happened to have for R2C, and she proudly modeled it here:

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Please check out her blog, Yum Run! I’m sure she will be writing an awesome post soon about her first relay experience at R2C18! As soon as she is done¬†takes a break from making delicious-looking pies. ūüôā

first workout back!

On Tuesday, I did my first workout since before the marathon (and injury, of course)! To many people, all these other things I have done over the past three months might be considered “workouts”…but I’m sure runners can relate to me when I say that forms of exercise¬†‚Ȇ¬†“working out.” A workout must be some sort of faster running – intervals, repeats, tempos, etc. I never attempt workouts post-injury until I feel I’ve established a decent base without any pain. So, on Tuesday I was ready to return to Princeton Intervals¬†not¬†as the coach! I was very excited, because I coached the previous two weeks’ workouts, and was itching to jump into both of them with my friends.

First workout in my new(er) color of the Brooks Epiphany Stretch short! I was all decked out in purple for this….

The workout was originally 12 x 400m, but because we didn’t secure access to a track this week, we improvised at our modified track loop (where we did this workout…and this one…and the mile repeats I apparently never wrote about in April). It’s 533 meters for one loop, or 1/3 of a mile. I didn’t know what goal time to set for myself; I usually hit between 2:00 and 2:05 for these, so I figured I would be happy with anything in that range. A big group of us stayed together for the first one and hit 2:05. Then, the front runners dropped the hammer and never stopped. I was glad though, because it resulted in my fastest times for these loops ever! My splits were:

9 x 1/3 mi: 2:05, 1:56, 1:54, 1:59, 1:58, 1:58, 1:58, 1:59, 1:59

I actually wasn’t planning on doing the entire thing. Since it was my first workout back, I was going to stop at 8 if we did 400m, so 6 for the 533m. However, I felt fine after the 6th, so I did a 7th…and then an 8th…and then I just did the 9th to make it complete. To be honest, my brain tricked me into doing this because I was waiting for two people who were supposed to show up to do the workout. Each time I rounded the bend and the start/finish line was in view, I would think either one or both of them would be there, having arrived late. Each time, neither of them were. So pretty soon, logically, all nine reps were done and they just hadn’t shown up to the workout.

Funny how the brain works sometimes.

One of the people was a Mizuno rep (er, different kind of “rep” I’m talking about now). He did say he would be really late, so it was more the other person I was expecting to see. Regardless, I wore these kicks because I thought he would be there:

Princeton City-20130404-01871

I did not have any of this stout post-run this time, unfortunately. Had to make do with Triumph’s Witbier (still awesome).

Remember when I got them at the Mizuno Group Run? It’s not like me to test out shoes for the second time ever during a speed workout…but I did. I think they felt fine; I noticed my shins were a little tight warming up, and the left toebox felt particularly spacious (almost too much so; I thought I was getting blisters but then couldn’t detect any later) on my cooldown. Overall, they felt light and fast. I think the toebox room would be an issue for me, but maybe I’m just used to not moving around as much in the Ravenna. I did see my Mizuno rep friend shortly after and got to tell him I ran in these, so it wasn’t for naught.¬†On my cooldown I managed to climb a big hill twice. Not sure how I managed that; it’s my own fault. At the very end, I was spent in such a terrific way – it had been so long since I had been satisfied like that! Since the marathon, in fact.

The aftereffects:¬†I am a little sore, mostly in my quads/hamstrings and abs. I also did all my ITB PT and a long core workout in the morning Tuesday, after a short bike ride. It’s a good sore, I’m okay with it. ūüôā

Rain run

Princeton-20130801-02235

Soaked.

Today I went for a great run in the rain! I did the most logical thing possible during a downpour: ran through some muddy, overgrown trails. I was able to do the entire loop though – the stepping stones at the stream weren’t washed over yet! My Garmin got confused around the time I started hopping over downed tree trunks and circumventing thorn bushes, but it’s all good. The run was topped off with a swim immediately after. And a trip to the bike shop to mend my less-than-a-week-old bike tube, which already managed to get punctured (I rode it twice since the last time…). Can’t win everything, that’s for sure….

Time to rest up for RIVER TO SEA!!!

getting directions

Something funny just happened.

I was about to write a short post that was going to end up being: a.) a cry for help and life/career advice from all of you, who seem to have more experience on that front than I, or b.) one of those posts I write that makes it sound like I am so confident and okay with how things are right now so that I actually start to believe it myself and can go to sleep soundly (yes, it’s one of those nights).

So of course, any short post (it’s getting late after all…) needs a good picture, and any good picture that is basically a motivational quote in a single image (what I was going for), can be found via Google Image search. However, I accidentally clicked “Maps” instead of “Images” in my haste…and this happened:

ImageI’m just going to leave it at that, because it speaks for itself. If you were curious, the directions I got were from Alexander Road to Dress For Success Mercer County. Takes about 8 minutes, or 6.1 miles.

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In other news, Brennan took this cool photo of me running last Thursday in one of my favorite spots (and I had no idea)! While we will take enough running photos during R2C Saturday to last the rest of the summer, candids from everyday runs are rare, and often truly capture what running means to me. I don’t know how else to explain it.

Next post: my first workout back last night with Princeton Intervals, and what got me through the entire thing at sub-6 pace (I’ll take it…)!