Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Years Resolutions

Well, since I haven't been doing much of anything except working these days, I've been a bad blogger. BAD blogger!!

So here's a quick holiday update, along with a few small resolutions.

Firstly, I always knew runners were amazing, but here's another reason why: we had a Fred's Team holiday party at the P&G, and our exceedingly generous hosts, Holiday and Steve, pledged to donate a dollar for each drink sold to the Aubrey Fund. We also had a toy drive AND a bake sale. And if that weren't enough, our good friends at Coke donated a lovely gift basket full of Coke tchotckes for us to raffle off. Well, we got about ten toys, sold a lot of raffle tickets, brownies and, thanks to my friend Sharon, who is not a runner but equally amazing, devastating chocolate-bacon cupcakes. Yes, you read right. Our livers also took one for the team, and at the end of the night, we raised $313 more for the Aubrey Fund!!

Running is strange. I've been trying to get out every other day, and will also be participating in the Midnight Run. For those non-NYers, it's a 4-miler in Central Park that starts at the stroke of midnight. There's dancing and a costume contest before and after, and champagne -- well, maybe more like "champagne" -- at mile 2. The Team runs as a group, as fast as its slowest member. Which is me. So be prepared for turtle mode, folks, because that's where we're at these days!!

It's been getting pretty cold in NYC, and I love running in the cold! I am having a little trouble getting used to it, though. I went out for a run a couple of days ago -- just a 3-miler -- and I had to stop three times, not because my legs were tired, but because I couldn't breathe properly. So strange.

Why is my body rejecting running?????

(and why don't I listen?)

I haven't biked outside in a couple of weeks, it being snowy and slushy. I had a feeling that I wasn't going to, but I can see from my forays out that snow and slush doesn't deter some folks. So maybe I will get some winter riding in.

Swimming, I've been a little lazy. I need to get back into the pool. But my legs are really dry, and shaving them is so irritating...bad excuse. I've just been both lazy AND pressed for time. Excellent combo!

Pressed for time because, unlike last year, I am supremely busy as a court reporter. Who knew that people would be so litigious during the holidays? I've been working every day for the past two weeks, and some jobs are expedites, meaning due in three days, which pushes other jobs back, which creates a backlog that I'm trying to get rid of over this holiday weekend. Hey, I'm not complaining. I'm grateful for the work, I really enjoy it, and feel lucky to be finally making some $$ for the first time in 14 years. I just need to get a little better with the steno practice to get my speed up so that my transcripts aren't so sloppy that it takes me a long time to fix them up at the end of the day.

Which leads to the resolutions.

1) more steno practice. I want to pass at least one leg of the RPR (national certification) this year.
2) more consistent running in the off-season. Do I think I'll get faster this year? Doubtful. But can I make an easier time of it? Definitely.
3) get my arse back in the pool. A must if I want to finish the Nautica Tri.
4) more blogging. And start the f-ing podcast already, like I've threatened for years.
4) send out my THANK-YOU NOTES from the marathon!!!!!!

I hope you all have the happiest of holidays, and best wishes for the New Year!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Lazy Days Post-Marathon...

It's been about one month out from the marathon. I have yet to send out the thank-you letters, which fill me with dread, only because there are SO MANY AMAZING PEOPLE who donated to Fred's Team after I asked them to -- and some who donated without asking.

And quite frankly, I'm a bit lazy these days.

I ran the Race to Deliver two weeks ago -- a four-miler in Central Park that's a benefit for God's Love We Deliver, a charity that I'm close to -- I've delivered for them, my old roomie, Laura, was a volunteer there for ten years and then worked for them, and my new roomie, Bill, works there now. How could I not run this race? Did it with an average pace of 9:30/mile, which for the stats-conscious is about a minute per mile slower than last time I ran it. I hate being slower.

And after that, I haven't run until yesterday. Two weeks off. In some ways, it's good. In years past, after the marathon, I typically have no desire to run, but got right back into it because I didn't really have any other forms of physical activity to occupy me. Now I have swimming and biking, my new athletic toys. So I've been doing those instead. Not that I'm any great shakes in either of those two departments, but I'm enjoying them a lot, and at this point, given the choice between them and running, I'll take them.

The swimming has been going well. I took classes with Jackrabbit Sports here in NY. The good thing is, having never really learned to swim, that I had no bad habits to break or unlearn. The teacher, John, broke down the stroke into its various components and gave us drills and exercises to reinforce them. It takes much less effort to stroke now than it did before, and I really believe that, if I continue to practice, I will develop enough endurance to actually conquer the Nautica tri. I've got until July, and right now 100 yards is about my limit. Just 700 more to go!!

The biking is also coming along. Like I said before, I bought a bike, a 2001 Cannondale R400. I found it on Craigslist, and I know you shouldn't buy a bike that you're serious about that way, you want to buy it new from a bike store, to get the service guarantees and such. I lucked out, though -- it fit me, and it was in great condition. Plus, it's bright yellow. Color is crucial. I had it professionally fit, changed the seat to a woman's seat, and we're off. Riding a racing bike is different from a regular bike. You're up higher off the ground, seated in a bent-over position, and for optimum efficiency, your feet are clipped into the pedals. My bike has a basket pedal -- your feet fit in a little plastic cage -- which is slightly less scary, but still, I'm afraid when I stop, I won't be able to put my foot down on the ground quickly. I'm getting over it. My longest ride to date has been 11 miles. I feel that the 25 miles of the bike portion of the tri is definitely doable, but the training isn't going to be for the legs as much as it will be for the back. Wow, is that a painful position to hold.

The unfortunate thing with the biking is that it's the same as the running. I don't know who gets it in their head that for running, all you need is a pair of shoes. No. You need the shoes, and the special running socks, and the special running shorts, and the technical running shirt, and the water bottle, and the Gu, and the watch, etc. etc. Same for biking. It's not enough to have a bike and a helmet. You need the special biking shoes that fit into the clip pedals, and the special biking shorts, and the special biking shirt, and the special biking gloves, and the special --

I did discover the joy, and necessity, of padded bike shorts. I picked up a pair that look like there's a Depends pad sewn in the rear. Too bad you can't run in them -- I can barely walk in them without looking like I've just gotten off a very large horse.

As for running, this vacation from it has actually started making me want to run a little bit. And by that, I mean, a little bit. I went out yesterday -- in perfect running weather, 35 degrees and sunny -- for a two-miler. And sadly, it was kind of hard. I can't believe how quickly my endurance has vanished. It's my own fault, I guess. Back to square one, which may be a good thing. I can really base-build, and work on my form.

I had the whole morning off, and spent it here, writing this. Lazy, or recovering? You decide.