Sunday, December 18, 2011

Races for 2012

I'm stealing this idea from my friend Jessi. She lists her races on the side of her blog (will run for beer). I'll at least list the races that I am planning on running or thinking of running in the first part of 2012 here (with links to web sites for anyone that is interested). I'll then update it with additional races and how I did in each race.

1/7/12 - Watchung Winter run - 10 mile or marathon - whether I run may depend on the weather. Didn't run this race despite the awesome weather. Worked the aid station at start-finish. Ran the hash (2.5 miles)

1/21/12 - NJ Trail Series Winter Series #3 - 10 miles; there's a fourth race in the series on 2/4. I haven't decided if I'll run the last race. Ran this after helping out with registration. Getting to the race was eventful because of the snow. Ran 10 miles in 3 hr 24 min in cold (about 24 F) and snow. There was ice underneath parts and fell during the 1st loop. Oh yeah - and I finished 3rd over all and 2nd female for the 10 mile race. A bunch more people started the 10 mile race and dropped to the 5 mile race after running one loop.

2/19/12 - Hudson Mohawk Marathon Registered - I think this will go better than my last marathon in October. I've started a running streak and have only missed 2 days since December 28. My longest run so far is 11.8 miles and plan to run longer this weekend. How well I do may just depend on the weather. Last year was damn cold! I only ran 9.3 miles last year and will definitely run much longer this year.  
       Well the race did not go well. The weather was perfect - about 32 F at the start, sunny (should have put suntan lotion on!) and a slight breeze. I only ran 20.7 miles in 4 hrs 25 min. My left IT band and ankle were giving me issues. I definitely need to get back to weights and the hip exercises. And I need to be better with my training. My longest run was 11.8 miles and did a 10 mile trail race in several inches of snow in about 3 hrs. I probably went out too fast - I ran the first mile in 9:30 but tried to stick to running 10 min and walking 1 min. Felt pretty good for the first 2 loops (9.73 miles in 1hr 50 min) but the wheels started falling off in loop 3 (5.99 miles in about 1 hr 10 min) and came completely off in loop 4 (5.99 miles in 1 hr 25 min) so I didn't bother with loop 5. I also had another issue (intestinal) that I've had in the past with long races & some other hard efforts that I really need to figure out & resolve! Still this is the longest run of the year and part of my training for the 50K in March. I am in much better shape and have run more this year than I did last year so that bodes well for the 50K. Bonus was watching my friend Jessi crush the course record and her PR for the marathon by finishing in 2 hr 58 min and some seconds! Its amazing to watch her race and run and I really need to start adopting some of her training approaches and life style. But of course with adjustments since she is 17 yrs younger than me and far better built for the longer distances and faster speeds than I am.

2/24/12 - Febapple - running the 10 mile race and hopefully another run later in the afternoon. This year the weather and course will be much better than the ice, snow & bitter cold of last year!
   I was asked  by the race directors to help out with registration in the morning. Which meant getting there by 6 AM! Not being a morning person, I told Jenn, the race director, I'd get there as close to 6 AM as I could. I showed up before 6:30 AM with coffee for Jenn and Rick - as close to 6 AM as I could get! I stood around in the cold and WIND helping with registration for a little over 2 hrs before the 9 AM start for the 10 mile race. The 10 mile and 21 mile racers started at the same time - but the 21 mile participants had a 1 mile loop to do before getting to the 10 mile loop. The 10 mile loop was set up as a figure 8 - a 4 mile loop back to the start-finish and then a 6 mile loop. The course was marked with flour - which sometimes could be a little difficult to see due to the rain storm the night before. All that rain also meant that mud was pretty much a guarantee on the course! The first 4 miles were pretty hilly and rocky so it was a bit slow. I don't know what my time was for that loop as my watch battery died and I was running the race based totally on how I felt. I walked the hills (some were pretty steep - don't know how steep) and ran the flats and most of the downhills (unless it was too rocky). Stopped for some aid (1/2 pop tart) and then continued with the second loop. This part was much more runnable. I tried to keep it at a steady pace so I didn't crash and burn. I also wasn't sure if the IT band issue would come back as I still hadn't really done much of the stretches or exercises that I need to do. There were 2 guys that I was always encountering on the course - they jokingly said I was stalking them. They were taking it easy and taking pictures with a stuffed lion (who has his own Facebook page).  I knew they were running the 10 mile race so my hope was to at least finish ahead of them so I wouldn't be DFL. Made it to the aid station and had some orange slices and Jelly Bellys (Yum!). As I only had about 3 miles left I tried to pick up the pace. My goal was a decent time and not to finish last. The last bit of the course went through a field - which was pretty soft, wet and muddy! Actually had a bit of a sprint to finish in 2:19:15 (13:55 pace). And I didn't finish last! Eleven people finished behind me - including the 2 guys taking pictures. I finally passed them as they were taking pictures by the waterfall. The course is beautiful - especially the second loop. I want to go back and run that loop again. It'll be really nice when the flowers start blooming. I'll have to bring my camera. The IT band didn't start bothering me until the very end. But it did tighten up so I definitely have to keep an eye on it. Didn't run a second time that day as I had to do work for my courses for the week. I felt pretty good about my effort. I think I might be able to run this faster - eating a little more closer to the start of the race would be a good idea. I was HUNGRY when I made it to the last aid station though I was eating during the run. But I think I have to eat more of the Power bars and less of the fruit chews that I bring with me. And I may want to think about using gels. Though not on a 10 mile race but for the longer races.

3/3/12 - Seneca Creek 50K - not yet sure if I'll run this one Didn't register for this race.

3/24/12 - NJ Ultrafest 50K - last year it took me 7 hr 11 min to run. This year it'll be at a new location but the terrain should be the same. I want to run it in 6 hr. Registered Ran in 7 hr 34 min. Didn't make my goal but ran a strong last loop after a rough 2nd loop. Race report here.

4/7/12 - Mt Penn Mudfest - 15K trail race - I've run this race more than a dozen times (it's in its 18th year in 2012). Good thing its 2 weeks after the Ultrafest! Registered New course. Very little water or mud. Ran in 2:11:50. Felt good and was definitely strong during the second half. I might have been able to run this faster.

4/21/12 - Muddy Marathon - will register for the half-marathon distance again. Will I be able to complete the 1st loop in the time limit in 2012? New course and new time limit. Registered Run as a fun run. Missed half of the 1st loop. Had two beers before starting the 2nd loop with the hash.Completed the 2nd loop. LOTS of mud. But flat with the new location in Parsippany.

5/12/12 - 3 Days at the Fair - will definitely register for the 12 hr race but may think about the 24 hr race. This way I can sleep during the night. And I'll probably borrow someone's tent so I don't have to share. In 2011 I ran 31.7 miles - my longest distance to date. I wanted to run 50 miles but the chilly temps and the rain in the middle of the night proved too much. I definitely have to make sure I have better clothing/gear with me in 2012. Registered for 12 hr. Moving up to the 48 hr race but starting late.

6/30/12 - Finger Lakes Fifties. Registered for the 50K.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Importance of sleep for weight loss

From Everyday Health: Link between Sleep and Weight.

I think there is certainly some validity in what is stated in this article. I know that when I'm not sleeping as much as I need to, or not sleeping well (falling asleep on the couch first and then going to bed for as little as another hour of sleep), that I have no energy to work-out. And when I have a lot to do when I'm sleep deprived, I tend to eat more - like a cafe mocha and dessert from Starbuck's! The added calories always give me an energy boost to get through the day. And since I haven't worked out, all those extra calories are doing is going right to my fat stores - which I need to get rid of! It'll be interesting to see the results of the NIH study looking at whether getting a proper amount of sleep will help people lose weight.

This is why I have made one aspect of my weight loss program is to get enough and proper sleep. I know that I have not been as diligent as I need to about this. Which is weird since I always feel better when I do get to bed at a reasonable hour.

This week, my workouts won't be as consistent. I started not feeling well on Monday evening. Probably due to burning the candles at both ends. Saturday morning I ran a 25 km trail race on Staten Island in 3 hrs 32 min (and placed 3rd in my age group!) and then drove out to Parsippany to run with my group (ran a total of 19 miles on Saturday!!) and attend our holiday party. I didn't get home until after 1 AM that night! Then friends were over for pizza and beer on Sunday. But luckily I'm starting to feel better and hopefully will get a run in by Friday and perhaps go to the gym or do some yoga on Thursday. I'll probably need some sort of stress release. I have a ton of grading to do!

Here's another link that may be of interest to everyone. Exercise!!! is the single best thing you can do for your health:

The diet the previous Monday-Friday was also pretty good as well. Dinner of fish and veggies and no beer during the week. Going to keep doing that as it seems to help me make up for my horrible diet during the weekends.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Week 6 - Another blown weekend

I'm not going to post my weight this week. Let's just say that I didn't lose any weight. And the weekends are proving to be my nemesis. This past weekend I ended up having five events - beer tasting on Friday, trail race Saturday morning, dinner in New York City on Saturday, a baby shower Sunday afternoon, and more beer with a friend at a bar on Sunday evening. Of course the trail race - approximately 6 miles run in 1 hr 36 min - did allow me to expend a fair amount of calories but I didn't do so well on the post-race foods and drink. This is partly due to what choices are available but I really need to stick to one post-race beer and not the two that I did have. One good thing that I did do was not have beer when we went out for dinner after Friday's beer tasting. Next weekend plans include a trail race Saturday morning and a Christmas party Saturday evening so hopefully I'll be better!

The week was pretty good for the diet (except for the weekend of course!). I drank hot green tea after dinner Monday through Wednesday instead of the beer that I've been drinking. However, on Thursday I decided to go to Copper Mine Pub to try some Sierra Nevada beers that they tapped since I don't usually find a SN beer besides their typical Pale Ale. I had a pint of the Southern Hemisphere IPA and a pint of the Northern Hemisphere IPA. At 6.7% alcohol, I wonder if these beers also have more calories? My dinner consisted of tilapia and broccoli. I'll be having a similar dinner this week - salmon and asparagus. I only had a piece of fruit three days this past week so I'll have to be better next week.

The work-outs weren't as strenuous as I need them to be for weight loss. My legs were still pretty sore from the almost 20 miles of running in four days that I did the weekend before and so only did 25 min of yoga on Monday. I was up late on Monday night so by the time I was done teaching on Tuesday I was too tired to go to the gym and took a 3 hr nap instead. I ran a total of 9.3 miles on Friday and Saturday. Saturday's run was good. I took it a little easy on the first part of the course to warm up. And there were some serious hills which required walking. It took me about 57 min to get to the aid station. The second half of the race, I made sure to push the pace and if a hill was short and not too steep I made sure I ran all, if not most of it. It felt really good to push the pace. I felt strong, passed several women, and completed the second half of the course in about 39 min. It also helps to not care about getting muddy or wet. ;)

This next week will have to be better in the exercise realm. I don't plan on running as much during the week and certainly no speed work. I will be running a 25 km (15.5 miles) trail race on Staten Island Saturday morning and want to be able to run it well (I have no idea what to expect with regards to terrain - except for the 2300 ft of gain that is listed on the website). I also need to let my right ankle heal a bit. I turned it during Saturday's trail race. I'll have to make sure to lift weights on Tuesday and not Thursday. My legs were still a little sore Saturday morning. I've incorporated lunges into my weight routine since the Essex County College gym is not that great and figured it might be better for my running that doing leg presses. And when I do lunges, I use a lot of the smaller leg muscles for stabilization. At some point I may actually perform a lunge without almost falling over!