Monday, April 30, 2007

Still racing, and my first donations are in!!

Sunday was my second race of the year, the Run As One (benefitting lung cancer research.) Another 4-miler. This time I pushed it a little bit harder and managed to shave two minutes off my time from last week's 4-miler. I finished in just under 36 minutes, with an 8:58 minute mile. Still a little slower than my usual race pace of 8:30, but I was somewhat deliberately holding myself back. For the first time, I feel like I am back in the race!

Okay, my first two donations to my Fred's Team effort are up! And they are...
-me (I donated instead of giving opening night gifts to the LION IN WINTER company)
-Curt Hostetter (from that same company)

Hooray! And I haven't even sent out the fundraising letter yet! Soon, my friends, soon...

Friday, April 27, 2007

It's Pre-Marathon Training Time!!

Ladies and gents,

The fundraising for this year's Fred's Team efforts are about to begin. So buckle up, because even though it's only April, it's never too early to begin. Sometimes seeing that people are supporting me is the only thing that gets me out of bed at 5:30 in the morning to train.

Anyway, thank you for visiting! As training gears up towards the end of May, I promise to post regularly, and I'll hold contests and raffles and other fun stuff, all to benefit my Fred's Team effort. For now, I'll give you a quick update and then you can read some of the archives. They're kind of funny, at least I think so. Okay, that sounded sadder than I intended. Anyway, enjoy.

Fred's Team, for those who don't know, raises money for the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center here in NYC. The marathon route goes right in front of MSKCC at Mile 18, and seeing the children outside cheering us on was more inspiring than actually crossing the finish line. I am going to run the NYC Marathon a second time to help raise funds for this most worthy cause, and I hope that you will support me in my marathon endeavor.

Please, won't you support me and the Aubrey Fund as I once again tackle the NYC Marathon?

There are three ways you can support me:
-If you would like to support me using a credit card, you can visit my Fred's Team home page, at also encourage you to visit that site and read about Fred's Team, MSKCC and the Aubrey Fund.
-If you would prefer to support me with a check, please make it payable to "MSKCC" and send it to me. I will take care of adding my race ID numbers and sending it to MSKCC. My address is: 152 W. 58th Street #2D, New York, NY 10019-2111.
-Lastly and most importantly, please pass this site onto friends, family, co-workers, strangers, celebrities, people in general. Cancer, especially pediatric cancer, affects nearly everyone, and fighting it is a cause that many people are willing to support. The more I can raise, the closer we get to a cure.

So, the update:
I got my letter from the Road Runners Club, and guess what? It's marathon time!
Only 192 days to go!
Okay, really, it's more like it's time to start preparing for marathon training. Yes, you actually have to train for your training.
I was out of commission for December and January while I recovered from foot surgery. I had to have bunion surgery to correct all the evils that plagued me throughout training last year. My foot was so enormously swollen we renamed it the "onion," since that's what it resembled. But I had my surgery performed by the most excellent Dr. Gregg Rock, who is himself a marathon runner, and he assured me that I could start running again at the end of January. So I did, slowly but surely. It was hard, because I was in Florida in February and March (yes, so tough to be in Florida during the winter) because it was humid and pollen-heavy, neither of which I "do" very well. But I'm pleased to report that on Sunday, April 22 I ran my first road race of 2007 and my first race post-surgery. It was a 4-miler and I ran like a pokey little puppy (9:30 per mile pace, which is a minute slower than my usual race pace for short races) but I did it!

This Sunday, another 4-miler. I plan on staying slow, but maybe a slightly faster slow, if you know what I mean...

More anon

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

THE 2006 ARCHIVES, Part 1

The best way to do this is to simply copy and paste 'em, as there is no "storage" archive here, only current blog archives. I'll do this in chunks so as not to overwhelm.

Without further ado (and in actual order and not reverse order:)

Saturday, August 12, 2006
Saturday Long Run
Today was a great day, cool and breezy. The perfect day to run a 13 mile loop of lower Manhattan. At 7:00am (dedication + stupidity = runners!) There were almost 2 dozen people at the start today, a lot of new faces. This was only my second long run with the Team, I've had to miss most of the Saturday runs because of work.

Anyway, we went from 34th and the Hudson River (west side of Manhattan) up to 57th Street, across town to 1st Avenue, down 1st to 34th, over to the river, down the East River path to the tip of Manhattan and then back up through Battery Park to the West Side Highway and straight uptown to where we started. A nice change of pace from Central Park.

On the lower East Side there were a lot of people doing tai chi and other Eastern exercises on the East River path. One lady even had a sword (she was in one of the parks, not on the path -- can you imagine?)

It was strange going through Battery Park. I haven't really been down there since September 9, 2001. Normally one wouldn't remember dates for an outing as mundane as rollerblading down the West Side Highway to Battery Park and hanging out by the World Financial Center.

I finished in about 2 hours 13, give or take a minute or two. My knees were getting sore around mile 12 but overall I felt pretty good, like I could've gone further. It was a good path, I might have to try that one again on my own. We do the long runs at our own pace, but even if you spend most of the time running by yourself you don't feel like you're alone. Extra Fred's Team bonus -- we have two support stops along the way, where a volunteer has Gatorade, cold water and Power Bars waiting.

This was much more relaxed than last week's extravaganza in Central Park, the first Long Training Run. This is one of a series of Marathon "try-out" runs. You start at the 102 Street Transverse (the fuel stop) and do 4 loops of the Park -- the full 6-mile loop, 2 5-miles (skipping the Great Hill at the north end) and a 4-mile loop (skipping the lower loop too.) Each loop ends at the Transverse, where you refuel with bagels, bananas, Gatorade and Power Gels, use the bathroom, and jump into another pace group. It's supposed to be a practice run for the Marathon, not just for the length of the run but for the pit stops, to see how much you need to eat and drink to keep you going. Do as many loops as you want, for up to a 20 mile total. Our Team was doing 16.

Theoretically, a great idea. In reality, pandemonium.

First of all, so many people showed up that there needed 3-4 groups for each pace time, which they weren't planning for. I was in the 3rd 10-minute mile pace group, we didn't even start until 7:30am. Second, you couldn't see the pace leaders clearly, they only wore t-shirts (in the Marathon, apparently, these poor pace group leaders carry flags the entire 26.2 miles. Not that I'd wish that on them for a practice run, but still...)

Lastly, the second we hit the first water station, that was the end of the pace group. Jeff, our trainer, tells us to walk the water stations, meaning that you walk briskly while you drink the water instead of grabbing a cup while running and drinking it on the run. That way you get more water in you than on you. These pace group leaders don't walk the water stations, so anyone who walks them is behind. And if you stop to use the bathroom along the route, that's the end of your pace group. So about 40 minutes into the run half the runners are deperately looking for a group to latch onto, the rest are in the wrong groups either killing themselves to keep the pace or falling asleep on their feet.

Did I mention there was also a bicycle race in the Park that day?

Anyway, the bagels were good, and I got a lot of free Power Gels at the end. I ran the 16 miles in 2 hours 45 minutes, more or less. The longest I've run. Just another 10.2 miles and I'm so there!

Saturday, August 19, 2006
Proof that Runners Are Crazy
Sorry for not posting more but this has been a busy week. First of all, I'm in rehearsal for SYLVIA for the Cape Playhouse, then I had a test at school Wednesday night, and of course the reason we're all here, marathon training Tuesday and Thursday.


Before we get to the running stuff, a tangent: I am going back to school to become a court reporter/stenographer (yes, that funky little machine you always see on Law and Order.) It's very challenging, but it's really interesting and I'm enjoying it a lot. Right now my classes are Monday and Wednesday night, but I will be going as a full-time day student this fall.

So why did I title this posting as I did? Check out this schedule:
Monday: rehearsal all day, school at night
Tuesday: rehearsal all day, training at night, THEN study all night instead of skipping training
Wednesday: rehearsal all day, test at school (!)
Thursday: rehearsal all day, training at night
Friday: rehearsal all day, dinner with my parents at night (yay!!)
and Saturday...

(drumroll, please)

16 mile long run...


Yes, I set out at FIVE FREAKIN' THIRTY in the morning so I could finish my miles, clean up and get to work by 9:15am.

And you know what's even crazier? I WAS NOT THE ONLY PERSON OUT AT 5:30AM!
They didn't all have to be at work early this morning, did they?

I already knew I was crazy, although I can mask it by calling myself "dedicated" and "committed." But all those other people? They are NUTS!

Anyways, Tuesday was a speed workout at Riverbank State Park, and if you've never been up there, go. NYers -- take the 1 train to 145th, walk down the hill to the river. And like I said before, almost makes you forget it was built on top of a sewage dump. Less humid than last time we were up there, but the workout was no less intense. I was pleased to see that my fast intervals were faster than last time. What's also cool is seeing how some of the other team members are progressing; particularly Abby. This is not only her first marathon, she started running in JANUARY. She is by far the slowest member of our team, but the most determined. She will finish the workout no matter how long it takes. And we all wait and cheer her. She was, for the first time, not the last person to finish on Tuesday! (and no, I was not the last one either.)

Thursday we took a break from running and did a plyometrics workout in Central Park. Plyometrics is basically jumping, it builds endurance and strength in the legs. It was a short workout but very intense -- we did a lot of jumping -- regular jumping, frog jumping, hopping, bounding, leaping, sidestepping -- back and forth across the grass.

With each passing day I am becoming more of a six-year-old: returning to school, getting innoculated against the measles (my doctor laughed full in my face when I told her I needed my shots,) and now -- bunny-hopping across Central Park.

Which brings us to today, a 16-mile run in Central Park at 5:30am. Believe it or not, I prefer running in the morning to the evening. It's cooler, it's less crowded (usually) and there's something psychological about running as the sun is coming up vs. going down. It's also really gorgeous, especially if you're in the area around the reservoir, seeing the sun come up over the city.

There were two races in the Park this morning, a bicycle race -- which was ALREADY IN PROGRESS at 5:30 -- and the Hope and Possibility Race, which features the Achilles Track Club for runners with disabilities. Each Achilles runner is paired with a non-disabled partner who escorts them through the race. The race began during my last 5-mile loop, and I passed a pair of Downs Syndrome runners who were taunting each other to go faster as they headed down the road. At that point I wasn't moving much faster than they were, and it was fun to run with them for a bit.

The first 11 miles were no problem. The last 5 hurt. Fortunately, the Team was meeting at 7:00am for the "official" 16 mile run, and I was at mile 9 when I met up with them. Knowing they were on the road made the last few miles a little easier. Also, the support team was out there too by that point, which meant cold Gatorade and words of encouragement.

It took me 2 hours 50 to finish, not counting the bathroom break. By 8:45am I was sitting in an ice bath, eating a bagel. By 9:20am I was at work, sore but awake.

Sunday: a FULL DAY OFF. Hallelujah!!

The Absolute Last Words on 2006 (until the next ones)

I'm back in NYC (I was in Florida on business. Okay, I was doing a show, which is not exactly business, but it's technically my business.) Anyway, I only had access to the internetwhile at work, so I had very little time to tool around and check other websites. The point being, I said in an earlier post that I would try to find all the posts from my first blog and get them over to this site. So today, internet access up and running, I go to my old Earthlink blog and, wouldn't you know it, they removed all the obstacles to posting that made me abandon it in the first place. Well, it's too late for them, but I am recovering them and in a mere matter of moments I will figure out where on this blog I can put them for your enjoyment. I've just read through them and they are really kind of funny.

Today's post will be, I PROMISE, the last one about the 2006 Marathon, because I've just registered for FRED'S TEAM 2007! So let's finish up and move on!

Enjoy ice?
Enjoy a bath?
Why not enjoy an ice bath?

One of the more amusing ways to recover after a long run (or any strenuous exercise) is to literally sit in a bath composed of freezing cold water and ice cubes. You keep your underwear on, plus a sweatshirt and a ski cap, and drink coffee or hot chocolate. You're not washing, you're freezing your legs to assist with the muscle recovery (I'm sure it has to do with lactic acid or something, I don't know.) After a couple of minutes you get numb but those first few minutes are exquisitely painful. Imagine if you will the look on my roommate's face when she walked into the apartment one day after I had completed a run and found me, half-dressed and shivering, in the bathtub.

Once we made it back to the apartment (I took the elevator and we live on the second floor) Laura drew me an ice bath while I got "re-dressed." Then I showered for real, put on some clothes and hobbled back to the Marquis for the Fred's Team post-Marathon dinner. There were masseurs there from the Swedish Institute in a room across the hall and man did that feel good. Then into the ballroom for dinner, reunions, speeches, and a wonderful slide show of all of us that the photographer took of us as we passed MSKCC.

As we cheered for ourselves as our photos popped up on the screen, we all decided that despite the pain, injury, lost sleep and blisters that the experience was indeed worth it. Fred's Team is an amazing team that provides so much more than monetary support. I was honored to be a part of it, and most of the core Team will be lacing up our running shoes again this year.