Workout of the Week

Last week I wrapped up week 2 of my half marathon training program. I’m putting it in the books as another successful week and am really starting to feel like my fitness is coming back.

halfweek2b

 

I got in a little more than 40 miles, although technically my long run didn’t happen until this week, I’m still going to count it for the last one! It was supposed to happen on Sunday, but my bachlorette party was also over the weekend and well, let’s just say I didn’t really feel up to running long on Sunday!

halfweek2c

My runs this week took me through D.C. in the early morning, along some running trails I haven’t hit up in awhile and by the waterfront in Hoboken featuring stunning views of the NYC Skyline, so needless to say there was a bit of competition for my favorite workout this week.

halfweek2

Hands down it was my lone speed workout of the week, which took place after work on Wednesday. I made an unfortunate decision to sleep in that morning instead of going to the track. I set up a workout of 400 yard repeats with 400 yard recovery jogs in my Garmin and watched anxiously as I waited for the clock to hit five and saw the skies turning increasingly gray!

It was just sprinkling when I set out for the trail though that leads from the office to my apartment. After roughly a mile warm-up I started my repeats. As I progressed though, so did the rain until it was monsooning and I was getting pelted with rain. It might be the hardest rain I’ve ever run through. My clothes were drenched and my shoes were sloshing with water.

For some reason though I could not stop smiling. Everyone else on the trail was so friendly and seemed to be having the same experience as me – well except for the bikers, they seemed pretty grumpy. There were high fives, laughs and smiles exchanged and jokes yelled out about what a beautiful day it was to run as I passed others along the trail. It was a blast.

I questioned my sanity a bit more when I finished my repeats and got ready to do the roughly 2 mile cool down that would take me the rest of the way home – ALL UPHILL. Fortunately the rain had let up by then and I was able to stop by the Iwo Jima water fountain for a quick sip before the last push.

When I do the speed workouts on a trail on my Garmin, I don’t see the split times as I go along. Instead, I listen for my watch to signal the start and end of each repeat and don’t get to see how long each took me until I finish. I was really pumped with my times and very glad I didn’t resort to a treadmill because I would not have pushed that hard. I was mostly consistent with just a few slow ones in there, but given the rain and the not completely flat terrain I wasn’t worried about them. It was one heck of a workout!

Do you like running in the rain? What was your favorite workout last week?

Advertisements

Crazy Running

I know some people think all running is crazy, but I love it anyways. Still, I’ve had some pretty crazy running experiences at races over the years and thought I’d share a couple with you.

In 2010, my friend Lindsay and I flew out to Nashville for the Country Music Marathon. On race morning we took the earliest shuttle our hotel offered to the start line because we were worried about overcrowding on the later ones. Other than the volunteers we might have been the first ones there as they set things up in the darkness. As the race start drew nearer, the sun shined brightly and it looked like a perfect day for a marathon. It was cool, but not too chilly and looked to be a very calm day, although the forecasts were telling an entirely different story.

In light of oncoming severe thunder storms and a possible tornado, race directors decided to start things early. While this was probably a good decision, unfortunately they did a terrible job of communicating this to the runners. While I waited in the bathroom line half an hour before the race was supposed to start I had no idea the starting gun was already going off. When I finally worked my way over to the starting line and hopped into the ninth corral I looked around and realized by the bib numbers that I was standing with the 35th corral.

They were starting each group about a minute apart so that’s when I caught onto the fact that they’d started things early. I was able to push my way forward a few corrals, but I was still so far back that I was in line with many people planning to run/walk the half marathon distance. I spent the first 13 miles bobbing and weaving before I was able to get into any sort of rhythm and find some space on the course. The craziness didn’t stop there though.

Calm Before the Storm - pre-race pic

Calm Before the Storm – pre-race pic

Turns out the forecasters were right as the sun soon disappeared behind the clouds, the sky turned very gray and eventually it opened up. Thunder and lightning rocked the course as I was pelted by rain and even hail. At mile 20, a cop with a bullhorn was announcing that the course was closing. It felt pretty surreal and I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was on pace for a nearly 30-minute PR and had no intention of stopping. I said some regrettably not so nice words as I dodged the cop and kept going. I wouldn’t get much further though. Volunteers formed a human wall at mile 21 forcing runners still on the course to divert directly to the finish line.

I ran the last mile in a state of disbelief and felt so wrong crossing the finish line and taking a medal after “only” running 22 miles. Lindsay and I somehow found each other after the race and braved the weather to snag a cab back to the hotel once we learned there was a couple hour wait for the shuttles. It was a mess. In retrospect, it does make for a pretty funny story though and I do laugh every time I see my 22.2 mile marathon certificate that they sent finishers who were forced to divert early. Now I guess I can’t get frustrated when people ask me after each marathon how long this one was!

I don’t think I’ll ever have a race top that one on the craziness scale (or at least I hope not), but running a small marathon in Canada last summer definitely had some quirks too. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved my first small race experience – there were just more than 100 marathoners – but after all the mega marathons I’d done I was a bit taken aback when the race director called us all in for a pre-race meeting and reminded us to be on our best pedestrian behavior since the roads were still open.

Cruising along all alone during the Niagara Marathon

Cruising along all alone during the Niagara Marathon

The fact that the race director could call all participants in and make pre-race announcements without using a megaphone or loudspeaker system was pretty amusing to me. This was nothing like the past races I’d done with 20-30,000 other runners alongside me. There was no dodging or weaving at the start line. In fact I was the first woman through five miles – how’s that for crazy?! What really threw me for a loop though was that I actually did have to stop twice at different road crossings to wait for a break in the traffic. I don’t know if that’s ever even happened to me in a 5k before. I still nailed a PR though and had a blast seeing my parents and boyfriend throughout the whole course, so it was totally worth it.

OK, enough about my crazy race experiences, tell me about the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you while running whether it was on the race course or just during an everyday run.