How to Make Time Speed By

If you want to ensure your year speeds by like a rocket, map out a training plan.

That’s exactly what I did over the past weekend.  I’m either optimistic or crazy or both, but I have decided to run (or train to run and then maybe run) the Mountain Madness 50k in October, five weeks before the Philadelphia Marathon.  I’m already registered for Philly, but registration isn’t up yet for the 50k.  I’m still scared of that one and unsure how prepared I can be to run 31 miles on trails, but I feel like I should try and not let fear rule me.

So yeah, I now have planned out every run beginning in July and continuing through the marathon, which is the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  July is just six weeks from now.  The end of the year looms before me.

Cherry Tree 10 Miler

Today was the annual Cherry Tree 10 Miler and Relay in Prospect Park.  This is a great race organized by the Prospect Park Track Club.  I highly recommend it, if you’re anywhere near Brooklyn in February.

This was my second time to run Cherry Tree.  I kind of collect race distances and I signed up for it in 2010 because I had never run a 10-mile race.  I had run the Queens Half several months prior, but I ran Cherry Tree after taking two months off from running–related to both weather and laziness.  I finished  in 1:52:50, which I was pleased with because of my lack of training and because I twisted my ankle during the race and had to limp along for awhile.

This year, I signed up again because it was fun, but also hoping for a better time.  I trained for and finished the NYC Marathon in November and while weather did force me to cut back, I have been able to maintain a regular running schedule ever since.  I arrived at Prospect Park this morning with no Garmin.  I was kind of hurrying out the door to catch the bus and totally forgot it.  This is kind of a panic moment, because my Garmin is my training partner and security blanket.  But I decided to accept the circumstance for what it was today and just run in a way that felt “right.”

The wind coming at us along the east side of the park was freezing and brutal.  I got a blister on my right arch at mile six.  I plowed on thinking I was maybe doing better than last year and hoping to come in around 1:45.  A seven-minute PR is significant and I knew I’d be happy with that.

Well!  Imagine my surprise when I turned the corner toward the finish and saw the clock at 1:40!  I came in at 1:40:49–a full TWELVE MINUTES faster than last year!!!  I’ve rarely been so happy at the end of a race!

Moreover, I discovered today something about running a marathon.  After completing 26.2, ten miles isn’t very daunting.  It’s amazing how perspective changes when boundaries are widened.

Thank you, Prospect Park Track Club and all the awesome volunteers who were freezing and congratulations to all the other runners!  See you next year!

Also, I took a picture of some swans while I waited for the race to start:

Happy Birthday to Me

I just turned 40!

The decade years are the Big Ones. I’ve been spending the past couple of days considering how young I still feel (24 and a halfish?) and waiting for the idea of being a 40something to sink in. I am grateful that looks don’t automatically go on birthdays, like a timer runs out. I’m told I look very young, but I’m pretty sure I’m moving into the “looks good for my age” stage of the game.

Photo by Joey Gannon
Photo by Joey Gannon

One really good thing about turning 40 is that I move into a new age group. Now instead of competing against younger runners, I’ll be competing against older runners. This will do nothing to make me faster, but it’s nice to think about anyway. My first new age group race is February 21 in Prospect Park. The Cherry Tree 10-miler is an awesome race and I highly recommend it!  Turning 40 also makes me a Master Runner, which also doesn’t bring any tangible perks, but makes me sound cool.

Most people use the new year to re-evaluate their life and set goals, etc. but I always use my birthday.  I wish I had some sort of earth-shattering revelation for this large birthday, but things are pretty well on track at the moment.  The Next Important Thing in my life is applying for graduate school in the fall, but that’s been on the back burner for awhile and isn’t really age-related.  The closest things I have to “goals” are continuing to train for long distances–another marathon in the fall and my first 50k.  Between that and possibly being a student again, the fourth decade of my life will get off to a busy start.

Here’s to the next ten!

Favorite Android App: ICE – In Case of Emergency

ICE: In Case of Emergency – Appventive

This app by Appventive is so awesome for runners like me or anyone that has a medical condition, allergies, etc.  It’s basically the equivalent of a MedicAlert bracelet for your phone.  It lets you input information about your blood type, medications, diseases, and any other information you think would be important for emergency responders.  And it lets you input a number of contacts that can be called from inside the app.  I have mine on the home screen of my phone.

It doesn’t take the place of MedicAlert or something like Road ID, since you could be separated from your phone in an accident, but it’s sure nice to have.