50 Miler Training Week 10 – Just another brick in the wall

I started the week looking forward to another race.  No matter the distance, time or date, races always give me butterflies in my stomach.  The weather for Sunday looked perfect, high 40s and sunny.  I wasn’t tapering but was looking forward to a fast MP race.

And then on Friday afternoon, I got an email saying that the race was canceled!  Yup, two days in advance thanks to the city of Quincy wanting an excuse to cancel.  The race organizers are desperately trying to reschedule but I feel like the city will find any reason to cancel.

Why did the race get canceled?  Well Thursday/Friday we got another snow storm!  I heard about 15 inches got once again dumped until Boston.  However, with very mild temps through Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday, but Sunday morning the snow was melted.  It was frustrated to wake up and see the perfect shining sun with no race, although with daylight savings time, I was more than a little happy to stay in bed a little longer.

Monday – Rest
My favorite day of the week! It was a tough tough day

Tuesday – 10.5 Miles
Started the morning fast with 4 miles around 30 minutes, 7:39 pace.  Ended the day with 6.5 miles on Incline 3, 56 minutes

Wednesday – 10 Miles
Ran 6.5 miles at incline 2 during lunch, 53 minutes.  I ran 3.5 after work while I waited to meet up with friends so some adult beverages.  It’s why I always have an extra pair of gym clothes 😉 However, I was starting to feel tired, and ran some “recovery miles” around incline 1 and 9 minute pace.

Thursday – 6.5 Miles
Thursday was when I really started to feel the slump.  The same 6.5 miles on incline 2 that felt easy yesterday took me 3 extra minutes or about 25 extra seconds per mile.  I kept running because I knew Friday was going to be a no run day.

Friday – Rest
I had to make an emergency visit to NY so no running.  Plus this is what the streets looked like:

NY Snow

Saturday – 21.2 Miles
I packed my Garmin, I packed my charger and completely forgot until I wanted to run.  Needless to say my Garmin was deader than dead.  Not even a low battery warning would keep it alive.  Luckily, my cell phone was charged I used RunKeeper. While I didn’t know my current pace, I had audio couch on to remind me, mock me every half mile.  I had it set for 8:15 pace, but even with a flat path ahead of me, I could barely keep below 8:40 pace from the beginning.  I guess family emergency, plus sleeping on a couch does that makes you weary.

My goal was to run 3 hours and I ran 3:30:27, or about 8:39 MPH.

brooklyn running path

Although my legs felt dead, the path and weather was just too good to pass-up a long run. I ran about 11 of my miles on this flat, laid out bike path that goes through Brooklyn. As you can see, all of the snow that was dumped less than 24 hours ago was fully melted with a beautiful sunny day.  I think the high hit 50s and I got thirsty half way through the run.  It was already 11AM but the streets still seemed sleeping.  I stopped by my parents house for some water and then ran more along the water front, where I usually run when I visit my parents.  I hit a few 8:10 paced miles at mile 9, 10, 11, 12 but I just couldn’t keep it.  There was an 8  minute mile around mile 19, no idea how.  Clearly, it was in me but mentally I just wasn’t there for this run.

Sunday – 17 Miles
We sprung an hour ahead and I felt my day was lost.  With no race to wake up for, I enjoyed the comfort of my bed that I missed for 2 nights.  After my 21.2 mile run on Saturday, I spent 5 hour on a bus from NY back to Boston.  The last thing you should ever do after a long run is spent 5 hours sitting in a cramped up space.  My legs felt awful when I woke up Sunday.  Although I ran a relatively comfortably long run, my legs were stiff as if I ran 8 minute mile race yesterday.

Anyways, stiff and lazy, I finally headed out the door around 5:30 pm (hey, in theory its old time 4:30 and a lazy Sunday).  I ran around 45 minutes before it got dark in about 43 minutes.  I then went on my treadmill and hoofed away 9 miles at about 8:15 min pace.  Afterwards, my legs didn’t want to run anymore but I wanted to end my weekly mileage on a 5 (I’m OCD, I like 50, 55, 60, 65). A friend mentioned that he trains for 100 milers with lots of inclined walks.  So I ramped up my treadmill to incline 10 and power hiked. I jumped around between 6-10 and sweated more in those 3 miles than I did in the other 12.   Total mileage 17!  Not sure for total time, but I think around 2 hrs 30 minutes.  I learned my treadmill resets after 100 minutes so I lost track of time.

Total Mileage – 65.2- I love ending on a .2 now.

Total Feelings – I felt exhausted Thursday-Saturday but somehow I ran through it and felt great Sunday.  I do miss the trails a bit and hoping some snow will leave me a dry trail to run on this weekend.

Jack Licking Good

Don’t you ever wish you had the life of a cat?

Malden Eats – Oya Cuba Cafe & Sun Kong Dim Sum

This blog has been mostly running and no munching, so here’s an update on a few new Malden eats that I’ve discovered and am in love with.

Oya Cafe – I’ve been stalking and waiting for Oya to open up since November if not earlier because let’s face it, Malden sadly has limited fine dining options to eat.  We like to call fancy, any pizza joint that has a table cloth.

Oya Cafe has opened and I rejoiced.  It’s a chic Cuban cafe by Malden Square with a great lunch and dinner menu.  I’m still hoping they’ll have a brunch menu eventually.  A girl can hope!

Oyá cafeRopa Vieja – Braised Shredded Beef with Sauté Red Peppers, Onions, Garlic, and Sofrito, Served with White Rice, and Tostones.

That was seriously, probably the most delicious meat I’ve ever eaten.  Very tender with lots of sweat juicey flavor from the red peppers

Oyá cafe

Soup, Tony’s dad order.  I didn’t taste but it looked very pretty.

Oyá cafe

Cuban sandwich that took serious commitment that Tony and I were able to fulfill.

The order place we have become regulars at is Sun Kong in Malden for dim sum.  While we don’t speak a word of Chinese and the wait staff don’t speak English, we meet in the center with the language of pointing.

Sun Kong Malden

Steamed sweat pork buns

Sun Kong Malden 2Fried scallion  pork dumpling, sesame balls with red bean paste, and fried sesame ball shrimp goodness.  Not official names but it’s what they are.

Sun Kong Malden 3

Our first attempt at ordering the steamed sweat pork buns ended up with the baked version.  Bottom is another fried shrimp goodness but not as good at the sesame version and soupy dumplings.

Yum yum! And doesn’t require a trip to Chinatown!

Have you found any good local eats lately?

50 Miler Training Week 9 – Recovery Week

As week 9 started, I debated my approach.  I’m all about injury prevention and being miserable.  I’m also all I’m about goals and fulfilling them.  I must confess I was pretty sore.  Hyannis took a lot more out of me than I thought it would.  However, I knew I wanted to keep my streak of 50 miles for that week but  I wasn’t sure how and which day.  My plan was to go for slow, easy recovery miles.

Monday – Recovery
In regular ultra training tradition took Monday as a rest day.  The fact that I was barely walking down the stairs had nothing to do with it.

Tuesday – 5 Miles
41 minute, 5 mile run on probably incline 2 or less.  Things were shaky and I stopped at 5 miles.

Wednesday – 6.5 Miles
56 minutes, 6.5 miles, 8:33 Pace, a little slow for incline 2 but I was beginning to catch up on strength.

Thursday – 5 Miles
The 6.5 miles on Wednesday made me tired so I took it easy, 42 minutes and only 5 miles

Friday – 6.5 Miles
54 minutes for 6.5 miles and I was starting to feel back to normal!  No soreness left!

Saturday – 15 Miles
I originally wanted to do 26 miles.  The weather would have been perfect but I stayed up too late Friday and slept in too long Saturday and such was life.  On the bright side, this was the weekend of running with friends and Saturday started with me and my roommate running about 3 miles (11 min pace) around a pond in my house (once I got some energy).  Afterwards I stopped by home and continued on my way.  The weather was cloudy and my motivation was turning gray just like the sky.  Luckily, I’m an OCD type of girl where I usually do an in and out type of run so when I get tired, my only option of getting home is to run back.  Total running time was 2 hr 17 minutes and average pace in total was 9:07.  Not bad for a girl who barely wanted to leave her house.  P.S. running after eating Cuban food, not the best idea.

Sunday – 20 Miles 
Sunday was what I would call a perfect day.. it started with Dim Sum and ended with lots of miles and lots of friends.  Ran 5 miles with a group around 11 min pace.  I love seeing my friends get excited about running, especially around the part where you get to grow your distance.  After a short pee break (drinking 20 cups of tea does that.) I continued the run with one of the friends and we ran 8.4 miles in 1:08 for 8:05 pace which includes some stop lights.  After my slow 9 minute miles yesterday, I didn’t think I had it in me to run fast.  In fact, during training, I running relatively slow compared to my race times.  I guess I just don’t get competitive with myself.  In fact in the first 3 miles I was struggling to get to an 8:30 pace, so i was shocked that around mile 6, garmin said 8:02.   What shocked me more was that afterwards, I didn’t feel dead.  Running with friends is energizing!  I had a small goal of running 15 miles so I finished 1.6 miles on the treadmill.  As I thought about going for a shower, I felt so great that I decided this weekend deserves a 20-Miler!  Hoped and slowly 8:30-9:15 pace, ran 5 more miles on the treadmill at incline 1.

Total Miles – 58

Total Feelings – I ran 8 more miles than my goal, recovered and felt great!  Hoping to raise some mileage this week.

Lessons from Running a Marathon in the Rain – Successes and Failures

Just FYI, I’ve had to edit this post to remove watermarked race images. Instead I’m leaving you to your imagination of what the photo would have looked like.

1. The folders of my neck
2. The bottom folds of my butt
3. The front of my ankle where the foot meets my leg

Those are just three things that chaffed that I didn’t even know could chafe.  The backs of my knees get an honorable mention.

I’ll spare you photos of the battle wounds and for the most part most have healed, but if there’s one lesson about running in the rain is that things will chafe.  Things will chafe that you didn’t think were possible to chafe, like my neck… I guess there’s enough neck fat for it to chafe. While I was prepared for the usual, I put Aquafor in all the spots I usually prepare, I should have just dunked myself into a tub of Aquafor instead.

There are plenty of other lessons learned and forgotten from the swim that was the Hyannis Marathon.  My race recap is up but here I’ll just share what I learned and how I prepared to run in the rain.

Good Idea – Trashbag + Different pair of shoes Pre-Race

Although this was not the outfit I ran in, I wore my trash bag and a pair of boots before race start.  Parking was 10 minutes away from number pick/race start and I stayed dry a little longer by strutting this trash bag and rain boots instead of my running out.  I saw a good amount of runners running in the trashbag but I ditched mine once the race started.

Bad Idea – Thinking I won’t get wet, You will get wet 

INSERT PHOTO OF MY TRYING TO WIPE MY HANDS ON MY WET RAIN JACKET

If you’re wondering what I’m trying to do in the photo, I’m trying to wipe my hands and dry them except there is nothing on me or near me that is even remotely dry.

Good Idea – Wearing wide-brimmed technical fabric hat

INSERT PHOTO OF ME SOAKED IN MY WET RAIN JACKET AND A LOVELY WHITE CAP COVERING MY FACE

That’s my holy, praise Jesus, I cannot believe I have reached the finish line face. I got that fashionable hat right after Boston Marathon, and didn’t open or test until race day. As wet and miserable as I was, I would have been a lot more miserable had the rain been hitting my face and eyes the entire time.  The brim protected my eyes and face for all 26.2 miles. Tony ran without one and said the rain hitting his face was very unpleasant.

Bad Idea – Not Bringing Ziploc Bags

I brought my phone and an extra pair of socks and stuffed them into my rain jacket that was supposed to be water proof.  It was for the first 2 hours, and then just like everything else and so were those extra pair of socks I wanted to use at mile 20 when my shoes started cutting into my ankles.  Ziploc bag would have probably made a better barrier for my socks and phone.

Good Idea/ Bad Idea – Layers

INSERT IMAGE OF TONY RUNNING IN WAY TO HEAVY SOAKED LAYERS. HE IS WEAR HEAVY SWEATPANTS THAT ONLY GOT HEAVIER WHEN WET.

Tony in beast mode during the race.  It’s very important to be careful on what you wear.  Any heavy or excess fabric you have will get wet and will be a lot heavier with water.  Unlike my other races, I am not wearing anything frilly like a skirt or even thicker tights because more fabric just means more water.

INSERT IMAGE OF RUNNING WITH JUST MY RAIN JACKET AND THIN PAIR OF TIGHTS

My rain jacket gets kinda stuffy so I only wore a t-shirt underneath for the race. I still haven’t decided if that was a good idea or a bad idea.  I got very cold during the second part and can’t decide if an extra layer, even if it was wet would have kept me warmer.  Rain makes the weather feel colder and being wet, with wet clothes make it hard for your body to warm up so I don;t know if more or less layers would have warmed me in wets and wind.

Good Idea – Bring an extra set of dry clothes

Bad Idea – Don’t leave it with Tony whom you can’t find post race

INSERT RANDOM PHOTO OF ME RUNNING ON THE CURB OF A ROAD RIGHT BESIDES TRAFFIC AND A UHAUL TRUCK.

This photo isn’t actually related to anything but I wanted to share it.  The guys behind me got serious beast faces on and running along a U-Haul truck in an open road in the rain wasn’t fun for anyone!

Good Idea – Dry your shoes but don’t use a dryer 

Mizuno with CatAfter the race I just took out the inserts and let them air dry.  A long time ago I made the mistake of putting the shoes in a dryer and that killed them.  I wore my shoes from Hyannis for a long run today and they felt good as normal!

50 Miler Training Week 8 – Taper Week

My recaps are coming later and later in the week; and although my memories are fading  I think getting them down in a weekly format will eventually help me next year if I ever try again.  I say this is my one and only 50 miler, but who knows.  I thought the same of my marathon last year.  If I actually end finishing my 50 miler successfully, I hope it leads as an example for anyone that’s worried about running that long of a race.  I have mileage goals, but I’ve also had set backs and 20 mile weeks.

Last week was my taper week for the Hyannis Marathon; however, with my long term goal, I try to hit 50 miles a week.  Therefore, I had to work hard to hit 25 miles and still take Saturday off before my marathon Sunday.

Monday – 6.4 Miles + 90 Minutes Bikram
Was a holiday so I celebrated President’s day with a Bikram session at Burlington Bikram. I wasn’t going to run but I felt restless due to skipping my long run over the weekend due to snow.  Since I kind of wasted time until the evening, I decided a good speed session was in order!  6.4 miles in 49 minutes  on the vanity (home) mill at incline 3 for a 7:49 pace.  All signs were pointing to a great race on Saturday.

Tuesday – REST
I took Tuesday off, I think I had a lot of errands to run, or maybe I was lazy.

Wednesday – 4 miles (AM) + 7 miles (PM) = 11 Miles
11 miles was probably a lot of miles for a taper week day, but I kept my 4 miles at an 8 minutes pace and my 7 miles on work treadmill at incline 2.  I never wrote down my pace in my log so I assume it was something slow and I didn’t bother to track it.

Thursday – 4 Miles
Work treadmill, Incline 3 in 34 miles 8:26 pace.Wanted to run longer, but kept myself short.

Friday – 3.1 Miles
This run was on incline 2 in 26 minutes. Things were questionable about whether the marathon was happening due to weather and I debated ending my taper. I decided to still focus on getting 25 miles before Sunday and let the odds be in my favor.

Saturday – Bikram 90 minutes
I debated running a mile to get to 25 miles before the race,but decided I wanted my legs fully rested for Sunday.  Instead took a bikram class with Tony and focused on stretching.  I might have skimped on a lot of the balance poses but I still felt great afterwards.

Sunday – 26.2 Miles Hyannis Marathon
My recap is up, but if you want the summary, it was 3:34:25, average 8:11 pace.  I had a strong half with 13.1 miles at 7:11 pace and a rough final 10K where I was almost crawling while shaking. I have a lot of bruises everywhere including the folds of my neck from the rain and wind!

Total Miles – 50.6 Miles

Total Feeling – I would like to avoid running anything longer than a half marathon in the rain again!  The scabs, and destruction of my running shoes aint worth it!  Otherwise, I felt even with 24 miles before race day, because I kept them short and at an easy pace, I felt pretty strong by Sunday.