Friday, October 3, 2008

Honor Roll Hoedown; Liam Update, Shameless Promo for "A Race Like No Other," Why Aren't I Getting Faster? and Tune-Up Race Report

Wow. Did all this time pass? Have y'all been as busy as me?
Cannot begin without a HUGE addition to the FRED'S TEAM HONOR ROLL!!!!!
Let's welcome:

DR. GREGG ROCK (my podiatrist!)

bringing the total amount raised for the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research in honor of Liam Witt to an amazing


Many of these people kindly donated after listening to Steve Runner's impassioned plea on Phedippidations, or from The Extra Mile podcast. For those of you visiting from those sites, I cannot thank you enough. Thatyou, who only know me from a podcast, would think highly enough of my noble purpose to donate money either to my marathon effort, directly to MSKCC, or to Band of Parents, who also support pediatric cancer research at MSKCC -- well, what words are adequate? "Thank you" just doesn't suffice. And I apologize for blitzing you with two podcasts in the same week. This is a cause that's so important to me, I'm willing to be annoying. Just ask my friends and family.

I don't run for Fred's Team because they give me a marathon entry. They don't. I earn my entry by being a member of NY Road Runners and completing the requisite amount of races. So I don't HAVE to run for Fred's Team. Raising money for the Aubrey Fund and helping children like Liam is what I MUST do. And if you've ever visited MSKCC and seen the pediatric cancer ward, and watched how the nurses and the staff interact with the children -- to know that you have played some small role in this, it's the best feeling in the world.

If you would like to donate to my marathon effort and be a part of the Honor Roll, just click here, or on the links to the side and bottom of the page.

Liam update: he is home again, after two rounds of chemo, intensive antibiotics, and rounds of scans and tests that ranged from scary to painful; and only missed the first day of school! And, according to Gretchen, none of his classmates seemed to care that he was bald. Hooray!

Shameless promo: Liz Robbins' book, "A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York" comes out October 7th, featuring many Fred's Teammates, including Yours Truly. Pre-order your copy today!!

I want to crab for a minute or two about the same thing I crabbed about last time. I am feeling frustrated about my progression -- or lack thereof -- in the speed department, both in stenography and in running. I don't know why I said last week that I thought my running was improving, because I'm not having great long runs, and I am still not able to get beyond my 190s in steno. After last weekend's 18 mile Tune Up, I checked my Buckeye Outdoors log to see how I did last year -- and it was the same time, approximately, and I apparently felt a whole lot better (more on this year's run in a minute.) I feel like I've been struggling more this year, not training as much and needing more recovery time between workouts. Now, that could be the case, or it could be that last year was the real breakthrough year for me, and this year, not so much a breakthrough year. I'm afraid that I've undertrained, even though I've done all my long runs, made nearly every Team practice, and more. But not as much as last year, I fear. Here's how I'm trying to talk myself down from this. First, it doesn't mean I'm having a bad year, only that this year was more about maintenance than breaking through. Second, if I look carefully, it wasn't until the Tune-Up that I felt good about a long run -- and the following week I crashed and burned in Staten Island. And that isn't happening this year. I'm no psychic, but I can predict that with confidence. But I don't know, and I won't know until I cross the finish line on November 2nd, and that's the thing that sucks.

As for steno, last week in school, I know I got the 225 and the 200, but couldn't get the 190, which is the one I need. The teacher said, "You have the speed, you're thinking too much." Hmm. He's right. Too boring to explain what that means for steno, but since I equate running speed and steno speed, how can I apply "not thinking" to my running as well as my steno?

One thing that HAS improved is my arms. Apparently when I run I don't swing them loosely and I hold them behind me. I don't feel that they are, but why would Jeff and Ann both lie to me? I'm a visually-oriented person; I need to see something as much as I need to feel it in order to know that it's right. My posture, for example; it's not enough for me to know what standing truly straight feels like, I also need to see it in the mirror from many sides. It takes me a while to incorporate things physically that I can only feel and not really see. At a Team workout a couple weeks ago -- the hill workout we were supposed to have two days after the ten Cat Hill repeats was replaced by a lighter workout concentrating on form (thank goodness!!) Jeff stuck with me and made me work my arms until I got it., And this time, finally, I think it stuck.

I put my arms to the test this past weekend, at the 18-Mile Tune-Up. Sadly (and I use the term loosely) the Tune-Up fell the day after both the Urbanathlon, which I wanted to do, and the infamous NY Flyers Palisades Run. This year we were not, as a Team, officially invited to the Palisades run (don't know why) but they were okay with us signing up for it. I was seriously considering doing the Palisades run, after having such a crappy time of it last year, but to be honest, I've been beating myself up so much about my running, as you can see, that I couldn't stomach the thought of having one more potentially bad long run. As boring as the Tune-Up is (3 loops of the Park,) I know it's one I can do. I just read my posts last year from both runs. Wow. What a difference a year makes. You can't see the pause, but I went and read some of my reports from this year, too. Am I running well or badly?? I'm so conflicted!!

So anyways, the Tune-Up. I added two miles to the front, because there weren't no way I was doing them after. And apologies beforehand, I erased my splits from my watch before I recorded them, but I know the generics, and here they be: first, I did negative split, but not by much. I was definitely slower the first four-five miles -- my first two "official" miles were 10:00, that I remember -- which was exactly what I wanted. The good thing about the first eight miles was that they were EASY, and except for the fact that I had to stop at mile 3 (or 5, depending) to remove the bursitis pad, because it was rubbing against the blister pad and making things worse, it was a great loop. I didn't start getting really tired until about mid-way through the second loop. And it's not that I was out of breath, my breathing was great the whole time. It's my legs. They just get all rock-like and heavy. Grr. The other thing is, it was very humid on Sunday, even though it was a little cooler. 93 percent humidity. So not easy. I spent most of the second loop really concentrating on my arms. After the first two miles, I hovered in the mid-to-high 9's in mileage. Not thrilled, but not going to make myself crazy.

The third loop was difficult. I decided as I finished loop 2 that if I had reached the point where I knew I would finish in under three hours, I would let myself walk up Cat Hill. Now, if you haven't read my blog a lot, this is one of the mind games I play with myself. I love to let myself off the hook, as it were, but I rarely do. For some reason, the more I give myself permission to stop, the less I will. Sort of the same twisted psychology that made me walk around with a pack of cigarettes for a year and a half after I quit. If I wanted one badly enough, I was allowed to have one, but just knowing that I could made me not want to. PS: as far as walking goes, I walk all the water stations.

Rounding the south end of the Park during loop 3, I knew we were getting close to the finish, and I started speeding up. My third trip up Cat Hill -- not walking -- was on pace, and my final mile was my fastest.

Finished the 18 miles in 2:55, and adding the two and a half beforehand, that 20.5 in 3:19. Didn't feel as chipper as I did after last year's Tune-Up, but not too bad. Had it been cooler out, maybe it would have felt a little better. It's not a question of finishing the marathon -- that I will do -- it's a question of time. That's all. I just want to finish strong.

Okay, off to NYRR to pick up my chip for this year's Grete's Gallop -- my entry in the Phedippidations Worldwide Festival of Races!! A week early, I know, but I traditionally run this race for the WWF, if two years a tradition makes. I am looking forward to meeting my running idol Grete Waitz again, and I am also looking forward to the WAFFLES!!

much love,

PS: Wednesday in the Park, I saw someone walking a dog, and the dog had a pacifier in its mouth. Bizarre.

No comments: