Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When it pours...

...we ignore it and keep running. The sky opened up on Monday night and rain came down so hard, I thought it might be hail hitting the windshield as I drove to the next race - Belmont Lake State Park 5K.

I decided that as long as the race was on, I was running. Fortunately, the skies cleared just in time. Of course, the same cannot be said for the ground. There were puddles and mud pits galore presenting me with a new challenge, running with soggy feet!

I can't say it was comfortable, but the park was beautiful. I would love to go back and take a paddle boat for a spin. I also turned in my best 5k time yet, 29;55. My goal of breaking 30 minutes is achieved! I love this running series. It really lets you see your improvement quickly.

Hempstead Lake State Park - 4k

Well, this was disappointing. You would think that with a name like Hempstead Lake, there would be a lake to view as we ran. Unfortunately, the race looped up and down the same road, then circled a parking lot, then returned to that road to run a piece of it yet again. It was the least interesting course so far and certainly didn't make me want to return to that park.

On the plus side, I ran my best mile pace, clocking in at a 9:12 mile! It was the shortest race so far, but now I have an ambitious goal to try to meet in the future. Instead of aiming to break a 10 minute mile, I will not aim to break a 9 minute mile.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Miusic to Run To

Logging miles takes inspiration and recently I have found that in music. My top ten songs to run to at the moment are:

Dream On - Aerosmith
Dirty Little Secret - All American Rejects
Waiting for the End - Linkin Park
The Distance - Cake
Raise Your Glass - Pink
Ray of Light - Madonna
Rockin in the Freeworld - Niel Young & Pearl Jam
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
27 Jennifers - Mike Dougharty
How Far We've Come - Matchbox Twenty

It is important to mix it up and listen to some novel songs. It is also essential to balance music that is vamping and has a nice beat with songs that are energy powerhouses. I once loaded a mix with all high octane songs that inspired me to run faster and faster. Then I burnt out early. It was exhausting. I find a balance to be more inspirational.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Caumsett State Park 5K

Another Monday, another race...this was the third race in the Long Island Summer Park Race Series. Caumsett is nestled out on Lloyd's Neck. It is a serene park with a walled garden and nice, wide, paved paths. Unfortunately, its isolation means that getting a large number of racers in there takes a lot of time and even though we budgeted an extra hour for the trip, we barely made the starting line in time! Luckily, we got there and this was a chip race, so I got an accurate time even though I started 2 minutes after the gun.

It turns out that those extra long first two runs were exactly what I needed. This time I had no doubt that I could run a 5k, so I was able to keep up the pace and really challenge myself. The past few weeks of work paid off when I beat my goal of a 10 minute mile! The top female ran a 5:50 mile, which now seems more insane than ever. I mean, a 9:50 mile was tough for me, I can't even imagine how fast my legs would be moving as a 5:50 pace!

There is no race next week, so I now have an extra week to train for the 4K at Hempstead Lake. I think I will need a few more rules to prepare for that one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rule Three: Go the Distance

It is not enough to get out every day. It is not enough to set ambitious goals. In order to be prepared for the races it is necessary to go the distance. That means making sure that I run at least 5K multiple times a week.

This is a reasonable distance and as a new runner I know I have to log miles in order to condition myself to prepare for the next race. I want to be stronger, faster, more consistent, less afraid and that means going the distance 3+ times per week. Using, I have charted multiple runs between 2.5 and 5 miles around my home. This site is incredibly helpful, especially since it has and off-road feature that allows you to map runs through the woods or on the beach. I now have a quick reference of options for my daily runs and can even log my workouts on the site to keep track of my weekly progress.

This week I have gone the distance on Monday and Tuesday. I rested Wednesday and feel ready to log a bunch more miles before the next race on July 11.

Sunken Meadow 10K

What a run! This park is beautiful and the race crossed the 3/4 mile boardwalk twice and curved through wooded trails for most of the rest of the run. The hills made it challenging and the large number of people on narrow trails also created some bottlenecks, but overall this was a great course.

10K or 6.2 miles is the farthest I have run to date. I did walk some parts of the hills, but I still finished well under my goal time, crossing the finish line a few minutes under 1 hour 10 minutes. Next time, I want a ten minute mile or less!

My top three lessons from this race:
1) A 10K is doable - I always thought it was for super runners, but it is actually a nice, challenging distance that is suitable for beginners.
2) Always race yourself - I wanted to give up and walk in the last mile when people started passing me, then I reminded myself that this time I showed up and ran, which was more than I had ever done before. All I had to do was finish and I could beat all of my past selves. In the end, I left victorious!
3) It is worth it - I was tired. I didn't want to run. It was far and hilly and warm. Needless to say, I was not enthusiastic before the race. Then it was hard, really hard for me...but when I finished I was euphoric. It is worth putting your fears aside, squashing your excuses and just going for it. I am still basking in the afterglow and I cannot wait for next week's 5k!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rule 2: Be Ambitious

I may not be a runner, but I am racing every Monday night this summer. It is not enough to be consistent, I need to stay inspired and to do that I need to set ambitious goals.

Race 1 was a 5 miler at Heckscher State Park. This is about as far as I have ever run, so I am proud to say that I ran the entire way and finished in 52:30 - a 10.5 minute mile! Now, that is not exactly a winning pace, but for me it is great. The weather was perfect, the course was beautiful and I finished it in under an hour. At this point, I couldn't ask for more.

Next week: a 10K...ahhh