One month away

Yesterday marked the official first day of Spring, which is a very exciting day for some people. Today, however, marks a very exciting day for me personally.

Today, I am exactly one month away from my first big race of the Spring Season, the CGI Unite Half Marathon, at no other than my Alma Mater, Rutgers University (Ru Rah Rah!)

Long before I knew that I was going to run the Big Sur Marathon, (or before I even contemplated running a marathon in the near future) I had my sights set on a half marathon. I wanted to dip my feet into the waters first before diving an extra 13 miles deeper.

As I’ve been documenting my training, I have been emphasizing my focus on Big Sur because it requires much more time and dedication, but I never emphasized the significance that the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon holds in my heart.

During the middle of my junior year at Rutgers, when I really started getting back into the mindset of being a dedicated runner, I had made it a point to run the Rutgers Half before I graduated. Essentially, I only had one year to complete that. Clearly, I’ve failed.

However, the fact that I officially signed up for 2013 compensates for my guilt. Although I’ll be running as an alumni, I’d still say that’s quite special. I would have liked to actually run for a PR in this half, but I also have to keep in mind that I’m running double the amount of miles in exactly one week from then which is why I’m using the half as my last long run.

I’m in crunch-time mode right now, and as I’m getting closer to these big races, I’m doing nothing but filtering out any negative thoughts about how I will perform.

The countdown has officially begun!

Running into the NYC St. Patty’s Day Parade

Long Run Saturday. That’s my thing now.

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I was actually planning on changing up my schedule this weekend and getting my long run completed tomorrow, but then I realized that tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day as well as the NYRR New York City Half-Marathon, so I figured that today would be my best bet. I also happened to end up at Artichoke Pizza last night; For those of your who have never been there, one slice is twice the size of my face and it’s very rich with a cheesy, deliciousness.

Anyways, my long run today was a success. The more good long runs I have, the more terrified I am of encountering a bad one. I’m still crossing my fingers that we never have to meet.

I’m a creature of habit, as most humans are, and I run the same exact route basically every time I’ve been doing my long runs. I run from my apartment uptown to the Central Park entrance at 90th street and do the 6-mile loop around the perimeter of the park. I also go at the same time, so I’ve started recognizing some familiar faces.

The major flaw in this habit that I’ve fallen into is that it gets a little boring and tedious after a while.

Luckily for me, the one thing that I didn’t realize when I chose to do my long run today is that today is the New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.

And I ran right into it.

It was sea of green up and down the streets of 5th Avenue. Some people had very creative costumes, and so did a few dogs. The banging of the drums and bagpipes echoed so loud that I couldn’t even hear the music coming out of my earbuds.

I have to admit though, it was pretty cool. It definitely entertained my long run before I actually entered the park. I also can’t complain that it was a relief to have Central Park be so empty today.

Once I passed the parade and was able to actually focus on my run instead of the calamity around me, I focused on my stride and form.

My legs felt great today and I was really working the uphills. I finished strong and once again, felt extremely satisfied with my performance.

Total Distance: 12 Miles
Total Time: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

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A pie of pizza and 10 miles to go

So, my Friday night went a little something like this:

I had been putting off doing my laundry for about 2 weeks. Of course, it was only until I had plans to go out with my friends when I actually decided to get it done.

I did laundry for about 2 hours; I really underestimated how many loads I had to do. At that point, I was so frustrated that I just decided to stay in for the night.

Last night was a bit of a depressing night for me. It ended up being exactly what I needed though- a night to myself where I could relax and catch up on Season 7 of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. I haven’t done that in a very long time. Oh, and did I mention that I also ordered myself a personal pie of Papa John’s pizza which I finished by myself…in a matter of about 10 minutes.

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Thankfully, I knew that I was going to run that pie off today.

My night in ended up being a late night, ironically. I stayed up watching How I Met Your Mother episodes until around 4AM, so I woke up a lot later than I wanted to for my long run this morning.

When I woke up, the sunlight was beaming through my light blue curtains. The brightness woke me up which automatically put my in a great mood. My first thoughts: I’m going to run.

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I stepped outside and couldn’t believe how perfect the weather was. It was ideal conditions and I started my run a lot faster than I normally would. I’d usually take it out slow, but I just couldn’t contain my excitement, knowing that Spring was just around the corner. Subconsciously I knew that going out too fast on a long run is never a good idea. After about 3 miles, my calves started tightening up and feeling sore. I clocked in at about 25 minutes for my first 3 miles. Immediately, I was nervous that this run was going to go sour, but the minute that I turned into Central Park and saw the packs of runners everywhere, the soreness in my legs went away. I was able to maintain my 8:30-minute pace throughout the rest of my run.

I was aiming for 14 today, but I cut myself off at 10 because I wanted to leave off feeling great. I also really had to go to the bathroom.

Total Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Total Miles: 10.20 miles

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After today, I fear for a bad long run.

After today, I also absolutely can’t wait for Big Sur as it’s getting closer to April.

I still haven’t hit the mileage that I want to, but I know that I’ll get there (even though I’m really running out of time)

As mentioned in a past blog entry, factors play a significant role in the way our days pan out. You should never regret the decisions you make- only learn from them and grow.

Looking at it from a different perspective, I know that my decision to do laundry and stay in and relax was the most favorable for what I had to get done in my marathon training. This time right now, I just need to make sure that my body is in the best condition that it could be- especially for my VERY FIRST marathon.

I may have already also said in a past blog entry, but sacrifice is key when you want to accomplish a goal. Your time is precious and the way that you allocate your time makes all the difference in the long run (nice play on words there, right?)

In closing, think before you do.

A sleeve of thin mints and 13 miles of satisfaction

So, apparently I’ve already disappointed my goal to consecutively write a post every day.

It’s okay though. I will just pick up where I left off.

To preface this entry, I will say that this IS about running.

My weekend consisted of (regretfully) eating an entire sleeve of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies followed by a satisfying 13-mile long run in Central Park on Saturday morning.

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(See above as glorious proof that my long-awaited order of thin mints arrived to the office on Friday morning. I graciously gave the other sleeve of cookies to my sister)

Getting back on track, I had been looking forward to Saturday’s long run for quite some time. I’m currently training for the Big Sur International Marathon in Monterey, California which is taking place on Sunday, April 28th. This would be my very FIRST full-marathon and I couldn’t be more excited to run my first marathon in such a beautiful location. On top of that, exactly one week prior to that day (Sunday, April 21st) I’ll be running a half marathon at my proud Alma Mater, Rutgers University.

It’s safe to say that I’m feeling the pressure of getting in my miles for these races.

It’s been a tough season of training for me because I’ve been sick twice during the month of February which really set me back in miles. But alas, I am back in the game.

About a week ago, I received an awesome present from a wonderful co-worker. I received the Asics Gel Noosas and have been running in them ever since. This past Saturday was the first time I have run in them outside however. I do a majority of my miles indoors, on the treadmill at the gym just because it’s more convenient for me, but running outside is always so refreshing. My feet felt great, my legs felt great, and my shoes were great.

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(Asics Gel Noosa Tri-7)

The only downfall of my run is that I still haven’t familiarized myself enough with Central Park and I often get lost (which is, in part, why I actually ran 13 miles) It worked out for the better though.

In conclusion, I’d like to say Happy March! I’m looking forward to more long runs outside and the much anticipated warmer weather which will hopefully arrive soon.

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(RunKeeper screenshot of my activity logged)