Saturday, February 28, 2009

Something Funny Happened on the Way to 9(ish) Miles . . .

I tackled a good old-fashioned long run today and DAMN, did it feel good(ish). I don't officially start marathon training until a week from Monday, but I figured it couldn't hurt to get back into the habit of running long on the weekends. For some reason, I had in my mind that I wanted to tackle 10 miles this morning. Well, "this morning" turned into "this afternoon" as a result of the fact that I TOTALLY put off finalizing my article for the Runners Lounge Book Project until this morning (**DON'T FORGET TO SUBMIT YOUR ARTICLE TODAY IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY!! MORE DETAILS HERE**). But I wasn't going to let that deter me from getting a nice long run in.

I headed out in shorts and a long sleeve tee. As my garmin was apparently pissed at me, she didn't pick up a signal until somewhere between 1.5-2 miles into the run (Um, garmin? We are SO not speaking after that little stunt!). I noticed how good I felt right from the start . . . must have been the unprecedented ten hours of sleep I got last night (yay, sleep)! I was getting all kinds of looks, I guess probably as a result of the shorts . . . but I like to think it was because everyone was so amazed by my gazelle-like stride (ha). After 2.5-miles, I arrived at the park and stopped briefly to stretch out my tight hammies.

I then took off around the main loop in Prospect Park. I was feeling AWESOME . . . like some sort of running machine. But the thing is . . . I was supposed to be running SLOOOOOW. I had told myself that I would take it super easy during the run considering I have a 5K tomorrow that I'm hoping to PR at (fingers crossed!). My legs, though? They thought that was complete nonsense. They wanted to run FAST! No matter how many times I repeated to myself "slow and steady, slow and steady," my legs just kept pushing it. Arg.

I gelled/watered up around mile 5, and continued on. I was starting to feel a bit fatigued, but do you think that slowed me down? Nope. I'm telling you, I was chicking dudes right and left. It was bizarre. I could not for the life of me get myself to run at an appropriate pace. I kept trucking until all of a sudden, around mile 8, I realized I was developing a huge, horrible blister on the ball of my foot. I knew that I should probably cut my run short, but it was seriously all I could do to get myself to stop at 9 miles. I was like some kind of machine. I told myself I was going to walk the last mile home so as to not do any more damage to my foot than I'd already done, but as I was walking, I had to fight the urge to start running again! Legs? What kind of crack are you on? And um, can you please purchase some more of said crack before the 5K race tomorrow? That would be great . . . thanks!

Anyway, I don't have splits for the first mile-and-a-half or so, but here are the splits that garmin actually agreed to record for the run:

Mile 1: 9:41 (this was basically all uphill)

Mile 2: 9:25

Mile 3: 8:59 (um, oops!)

Mile 4: 9:25

Mile 5: 9:18

Mile 6: 9:35 (chugging up the big Prospect Park hill)

Mile 7: 9:17

Mile 7.52: 8:26 pace

So um . . . yeah, that's an overall pace of 9:19 for the last 7.52 miles of the 9(ish)-mile run. Yowsers. The scary thing is that my overall pace was actually probably even faster, since I tend to blow through the first couple miles of that route to Prospect Park. Stupid garmin . . . we are so not friends (but please, please, please can we make up by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow? I have a race and I'd really, really like you to record it! Pretty please with beer on top?)

The blister thing was a result of my stupid sock, which is a little old and stretched out, and apparently rubbed the crap out of my foot with its now large-ish ventilation hole thingies. Boo. But I'm hopeful that it will be okay enough to get through the race tomorrow. I'm definitley shooting for a PR, but I certainly won't be devastated if I don't quite snag one. After all, I get to have a super fun RBF meet-up afterwards . . . and there will be beer. So yeah, we all know that's basically all I need to make me happy!!

Oh, and before I sign off for the night, I just have to squeal a little because . . . EEEK!! I GOT TWO NEW PAIRS OF RUNNING SHOES IN THE MAIL TODAY!!!! :) I went on some kind of a crazy running gear shopping spree last weekend and got a bunch of new shorts/tops, as well as these two pretty pairs (and yes, I do judge my running shoes on their looks!) . . . hooray for new running shoes!! :)

Asics Gel Nimbus 10 (my long distance shoes)

Zoot Ultra TT (My shorter-distance/speed training shoes)

Monday, February 23, 2009

All Signed Up . . .

Well, y'all managed to talk me into signing up for the 5K this coming Sunday (ha, like it was difficult)! I'm pretty excited to give the distance another go . . . although it will be following a Saturday long run of ten miles. Still, it will count towards my nine NYRR races to qualify me for the 2010 ING NYC Marathon . . . so even if I don't earn a PR, it will still be serving a purpose. Lam, we should definitely try to meet up afterwards!! :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Al Gordon Snowflake 5K Race Report

First things first . . . a miracle occurred last night, y'all, in that I actually slept! That never happens. And, when I say never, I mean NEVER. I always get so excited about racing that I never get a good night's sleep no matter how long or short the race is the next morning. But luckily (I guess?), I worked later than planned last night. I got home around 10 p.m. and scarfed down some dinner. After doing some blog-reading and unwinding a bit, I looked up at the clock and realized it was already 12 a.m.!! Oops . . . Y'all are just so darn entertaining--I completely lost track of time! We immediately headed to bed and set the alarm clock for 6:45 a.m.

Ring ring ring! I was SO tired by the time I went to bed that I slept pretty soundly until the alarm went off. But with that being said, I still was NOT ready to get up. "Wilson, can you hit snooze?" I begged. He hit snooze. Ring ring ring! "Okay, last snooze," I pleaded. He hit snooze . . . or so I thought. All of a sudden I woke up on my own and looked up at the clock. FREAKING 7:25?! How the hell did that happen?! We were supposed to be leaving for the race at 7:30!! I screamed at Wilson to get up and get ready . . . QUICKLY! Apparently he had thought that I had meant for him to turn the alarm clock OFF because I wanted to ditch the race and sleep in! WRONG-O!

We threw our running clothes on and were out the door by 7:45 a.m. We rushed to the subway, but not before I grabbed a random year-old luna bar to scarf down. As we were rushing through the streets of Brooklyn, I attempted to multi-task and eat the luna bar . . . that is until I realized it was a REALLY strange color. "Um . . . maybe I shouldn't be eating this. It's a different color than it used to be, " I thought out loud. I ditched the second half of the bar and focused my attention on getting to the subway as quickly as possible. Somehow, we got there just as our train was pulling in--talk about lucky! We hopped on the F-train and soon thereafter arrived at Prospect Park. We checked the clock: 8:05 a.m. Not bad. But also, not good . . .

Since we hadn't had time to pick up our race packets earlier in the week, we had to stop at a school near the park and pick our stuff up. Um . . . holy nightmare, batman! That place was PACKED, and everyone was pushing, shoving and cutting the lines! LAME! We grabbed our packets and tees and rushed out of that madhouse as quickly as was humanly possible. We stepped outside, pinned our bibs on, stuck our chips on and took off back towards the park. Again, trying to multi-task, I attempted to pin my bag-check tag onto my bag while we were walking. But as I did, I apparently dropped one of my gloves . . . ugh! We had to back-track almost all the way back to the school before we finally found it. I was just happy we found it! I would have had one cold hand, had I not! It was in the mid-twenties with a pretty strong wind adding to the early-morning chill.

We finally arrived at bag-check, only to realize the volunteers were screaming at the runners to get to the corrals quickly, as they were going to be collapsing them soon. We shed our sweats, dropped our bags and rushed over to the corrals. We took our place, checked our watches . . . it was 8:40 a.m. Whew! Thus started the longest 20 minutes of my life. It was SO cold just standing there, waiting for the gun to go off. After what seemed like 12 days, they finally started the pre-race announcements and sang the national anthem. I felt good. Cold . . . but good.

And we were off! Right after the start, we faced a decent uphill for a little under a half-mile. I can't tell you how many times I have dueled with that silly hill . . . too many to count! I felt a surge of adrenaline and quickly started my way up the hill. I was passing people left and right. Granted, part of the reason I was passing everyone was because the corrals hadn't been enforced very well and there were a TON of slower runners up in front of me; but still, it felt good to be passing so many people on a climb that had kicked my ass on countless occasions! We crested the hill and picked up the pace a little bit for the remainder of the first mile. Finally, we arrived at mile-1 and Wilson checked his garmin . . . "7:50," he reported. "Not bad," I thought to myself.

We tried to pick it up a bit during the second mile, considering it was mostly downhill. Wilson really pushed me and kept sneaking ahead, trying to get me to catch up to him. I really felt like I was pushing the pace at this point. We were still passing people every once in a while, but I was also starting to feel the effects of having taken that first uphill so quickly. I knew I'd probably end up running out of gas, but just prayed I could hold on until I reached the finish. We kept running around the main loop of the park--an area I know like the back of my hand--until we reached mile-2. Wilson didn't tell me the split (and I didn't want to take the time to check), but I knew it had been a quick mile. It turns out we'd run it in a blistering 7:42.

Right after mile-2, we reached the turn-off from the main loop onto Wellhouse Drive, an area of the park I had somehow never explored in all the time I'd spent in the park! Little did I know that Wellhouse Drive had it's own killer uphill section. Wilson told me that we were on pace to finish in under 24-minutes and I got pretty excited. But at the same time, I knew I was REALLY starting to struggle. I tried to convince myself to hold the quick pace by telling myself that we were getting close to the finish. I pushed for as long as I could . . . but my legs were QUICKLY dying. Around about the 2.6-mile point, Wilson told me we had a half mile to go, and asked me if I was going to have a big kick left. I muttered no, and he kind of teased me and told me, "Yes you will! Come on! You know you have a big kick left!" I was livid. I screamed some pretty dirty obscenities at him. Sorry about that, race neighbors!

I somehow kept going, but I was SERIOUSLY slowing down. Ha, I was actually getting some crazy urges to walk, which was completely ridiculous considering the fact that we had just a quarter-mile to go. I told myself I just needed to keep digging, and moving as quickly as I was able. We hit the 3-mile mark: we'd covered the third mile in 7:57. Chug . . . Chug . . . . . Chug . . . . . . . Despite the fact that I had just .1 to go, I was moving SO SLOWLY--and it didn't help that the last quarter-mile or so was uphill! I knew I had no kick left in me, but couldn't believe it when I saw that I had covered the last .1 at a slooooooow 8:28 pace! Um, how's that for an anti-kick?! Ha. I just had nothing left. I crossed the finish line, stopped my garmin and tried to glance at my finishing time. Sadly, though, I couldn't see what it was because I was unable to see straight! I was feeling SO nauseous and light-headed; I just wanted to get out of the finishers' area as quickly as possible! Wilson grabbed me some water, a bagel and an apple. I was swaying all over the place . . . it was crazy. I somehow made it over to get my chip cut off, and FINALLY, we got out of the crazy-crowded finishers' area.

We walked back towards baggage-check and I finally felt a little better and checked my garmin: 24:48. YEAH! I was pretty stoked, I have to say. I know I could have run a faster time, had I not gotten so darn excited about that first uphill. But you run, you learn, eh? I'm pretty happy with that time considering it was my first ever 5K . . . especially because I met my secret goal that I hadn't shared with y'all; a goal to run the race at a sub-8:00/mile pace. My official time, it turns out, was 24:47; for a 7:59 overall pace. How's that for cutting it close? :) Ohh, and in terms of how I compared to others? I finished 78th in my age group out of 604 runners; 243rd place out of 1945 for my gender; and 1207 of 3987 overall. Hells yeah! Not bad at all :)

Now, I'm kinda-sorta thinking I might tackle yet another NYRR 5K race taking place a week from tomorrow. I haven't decided for sure yet, but I might just do it. I know Wilson will be running the race, since he ran much slower than he was capable of this morning in order to help pace me (thanks, Wilson!). And I know Lam is running the race next Sunday as well. So maybe I'll have to give it another shot . . . hmm, we shall see :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Speedy Gonzales

Okay, so I'm not done with the vacay/race report quite yet (why does returning from vacation inevitably lead to crazy-busy catch-up time at work?!), but I'm just feeling the need to share with y'all the amazing speed training session I had last night. I know what you're thinking . . . "Oh great! More super-boring training drivel from Irish!" Yup. Prepare yourselves to be bored stiff!

Now, I'm not gonna lie . . . I was a bit nervous when I glanced at my training schedule and saw the following interval work-out glaring back at me: 1-mile warm-up + 3 x 1600 m + 1-mile cool-down. The last time I tried that very workout, I barely made it through 2 of the 3 intervals. And? I was running them at a tortoise-like 8:05/mile pace. Well . . . this time around, as I'm trying REALLY hard to increase my speed, I ran the mile intervals at a blistering (not really, I know) 7:47/mile pace. I have to admit, I kind of expected the work-out to be a complete disaster.

That being said, can someone please explain to me why the intervals felt kind of . . . well, easy-ish? It's freaking me out! I'm chalking it up to a) the fact that I am finally nearly bronchitis free, b) the fact that I have gotten a few successful long runs in throughout the past several weeks and thus am more fit, and c) the fact that I am more motivated than ever coming off having just spectated at the Austin Marathon. Whatever the case, I sure hope my speediness carries over to my 5K race on Saturday!

Oh, speaking of which . . . I'm running my first 5K ever on Saturday! The race is being held within my old stomping grounds, Prospect Park, so I'm pretty excited to see how it goes. I did all of my marathon training there, so I know every inch of that park by heart. I'm hoping that will work to my advantage as far as race strategy is concerned. As for goals, I don't really have one time-wise. I'm using this more as a measuring stick than anything else. I'm just hoping that, come the end of the race, I will feel like I ran a good race and used up everything I had in me. Time will tell, my friends . . . time will tell.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back to life . . .

Howdy y'all! We had a FABULOUS time in Austin, let me tell you. It is seriously one of my favorite places on earth. I was super sad that we had to fly back to NYC today, but I think we really made the most of the time we had in the great state of Texas. I'll have a full vacay/race report complete with pics at some point in the very near future . . . but until then, I just wanted to brag about my marathoning boyfriend, Wilson. He ran a GREAT race in Austin and finished in 4:12:50 despite some crazy hills. Congrats, Wilson!! More details to come . . . but as for now, this sleepy girl is headed to bed!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blogroll + Week 2 of (Undecided) Marathon Training

First of all . . . I've been wanting to add my blogroll to my layout for some time now, but had always figured it was just too complicated to bother with. Um, why didn't anyone tell me it was so easy?! Ha. I'm an idiot. At any rate, it's up now . . . and that makes me happy :)

Also? Yay for slow days at work!

Now for actual running-related items . . .

1) I took on my second tempo run of marathon training on Tuesday. I have to say, it went very well. I ran 2 miles at an "easy" pace (10:00/miles), then cranked it up for 2 miles at an 8:19 pace. It was tough, but definitely doable. I finished the run off with a 1 mile cool-down at easy pace.

2) Yesterday was a cross-training day. I left work pretty late (around 9:45 p.m.), Turkish take-out in hand . . . and was sooooo tempted to just go straight home and devour my delicious food (if you live in NYC, you MUST try Dervish--it is out of this world!). BUT. Despite the fact that I was super tired, super grouchy and super hungry, I just couldn't seem to talk myself out of doing that damn cross-training! I hit the gym and mixed things up with 15 minutes of rowing and 25 minutes of biking. As is always the case, I left the gym thinking I was REALLY glad I went. I'm pretty sure there's never been an occasion where I've left the gym wishing I hadn't gone . . . I should try to remember that one ;)

3) I've got speed intervals on the schedule for tonight. My workout will consist of a 13-minute warm-up; followed by 6 x (1 min. fast + 2 mins. easy); and then a 13-minute cool-down. I'm thinking I'll tackle the fast intervals at a 7:09/mile pace. And? I'm actually . . . gasp! . . . really excited to do this workout!

There you have it, folks! Well, we leave early tomorrow morning for Austin. I haven't decided yet whether or not I'm bringing my laptop (note to self: check and see if the hotel offers free wireless). If not, I'll definitely check back in when we get home on Tuesday. Until then, GO WILSON!! DOMINATE THE AUSTIN MARATHON!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What Irish Has Been Up To - Bullet-Style

Um, you guys? How exactly is it that three months have passed since my last substantive post? And how ridiculous is it that my first post of 2009 is occurring today on February 11? Yowsers. In my defense, I have been working on a catch-up post for quite some time now . . . but time keeps on flying and stuff keeps on happening, continually setting me back further and further in Mission: Get Caught Up land. I've finally decided that I'm never going to dig myself out of this hole if I don't suck it up and do it bullet-style! So here goes:

  • Work was SUPER crazy-busy leading up to the holidays . . . mostly because the only other two paralegals in the department were both allowed to take two full weeks off, despite the fact that one of our largest, most complicated cases was in the midst of trial. As the sole representative for the litigation department, I was working long, hard hours and getting next to no sleep . . . and shockingly (sarcasm alert), I somehow managed to contract the worst case of bronchitis in the history of mankind. What's worse, I came down with the monster illness not even 24 hours after I had totally dominated my commitophobia and registered myself for the Austin Half-Marathon!
  • Despite my horrible coughing fits and fever, I somehow survived my Christmas Eve flight to South Carolina (where my older sis lives). I proceeded to eat TONS of food, drink TONS of beer, and had TONS of fun both playing with my 3 year-old niece and tackling my sister's Nintendo Wii! (I pretty much dominate at bowling and boxing, just for the record).
  • I should probably be embarrassed by this, but I think by far my favorite Christmas present was a pair of arm-warmers that Wilson got me. Seriously, you guys . . . you need these! They are just my FAVORITE things ever! And look, they even have a cute little scorpion dude on them!

  • Another favorite "Christmas present" (although it wasn't a formal present) was getting to run (in shorts and a tank!! Yay SC weather!) with my younger sister, Mo, who recently gave up smoking and has taken up running. Despite the fact that my chest was totally messed up due to the bronchitis and I really shouldn't have been running, I simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to run with her. We ran an easy 3-miles around my older sister's neighborhood and had quite a blast doing so. Now I just have to work on convincing her to train for a marathon with me :)
  • Since my ever-so-fabulous (but way too short) trip to the South, work has REALLY picked back up again and has been frustrating as ever. Part of this has to do with the fact that my firm (like everywhere else) has begun a massive lay-off program. While the NYC office has-- for the most part--been spared, one of my mentors just so happens to be one of the unlucky few to fall victim here. It's a long story, but it was seriously a TERRIBLE decision that was based entirely on personal reasons as opposed to anything at all work-related. I know there has been a TON of this stuff going on, and that I should be seriously grateful to still be employed at this point (especially since the paras have all been assured that our jobs are safe). I promise that I truly am . . . but at the same time, I think I'm just just really starting to feel trapped, knowing I kind of HAVE to stay here, considering how secure a job it is. Hmm . . . maybe I should have listened to you all when you tried to convince me to get a new job BEFORE the economy imploded . . . ! Guess I'll have to ride this out . . .
  • I am actually a little bit ashamed, but I have been cheating on this blog with another blog; a fashion/style blog! If you are at all interested in snagging really good deals on cute women's clothes/shoes/accessories, check it out at I'm thinking someday I might expand to include home decor and furniture, but for the time being, I'm just going to stick with women's apparel . . .
  • I half-tackled Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels's Making The Cut program last month; and by "half-tackled", I mean, I did the program for two weeks (as opposed to the entire 30 days). Holy Moly, that sh*t is INTENSE, you guys! I literally told Wilson at one point, "I would seriously prefer marathon training over this program any day!" Now, I'm no quitter, but the truth of the matter is that I started the program on a bit of a whim (without thinking about whether or not it was a good time to do so), and given my current work situation, I literally just do not have time to make all of the special meals for myself. Ha, I kid you not . . . for the first two weeks, I would get home from work around eleven or so, do the daily work-out (lots of squats, abs, lunges, free weights, planks, mountain-climbers, etc.), cook dinner, eat dinner, attempt to cook lunch for the next day, clean it all up . . . then I'd look at the clock only to realize it was already 1 a.m.! It was just too much. Plus, I really wanted to get back into building my running mileage back up, and it just wasn't feasible to do so while consuming the low number of calories the program calls for. SO, I'm thinking it will be a good program to take on if and when I'm preparing for my wedding day or some other big event (because, you guys, it SERIOUSLY works! The results I got in just 14 days were out of control!). Until, then, I'm going to stick to marathons :) I promise I will try to do a proper review of the book at some point in the not too distant future!
  • Since I was forced to go without much running over the past month or two (thanks, monster bronchitis!), the Austin Half is now going to be a DNS for me. Wilson, on the other hand, managed to successfully train for the full marathon (his first), and will be running it on Sunday! I'm SUPER excited for him and for our trip to Austin in general . . . and as disappointed as I am to not be running, I think it's probably for the best. After all, I will get to focus my full attention on being Wilson's support person during the marathon; whereas I would have had my own thing going on and wouldn't have been able to offer as much support to him were I running as well. At any rate, I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes!
  • I think my monster bronchitis is FINALLY on its way out! As such, I've decided I am officially in marathon training for a yet to be determined late spring/early summer marathon. I'm aiming specifically for something in late May or June, so I was thinking I might shoot for either San Diego Rock n' Roll or the inaugural Seattle Rock n' Roll marathon. I certainly welcome any suggestions or recommendations!
  • In what turned out to be kind of a neat little "circle of life" of marathon training, Wilson ran his last long run last weekend with me as I ran my first. Together, we tackled 8-miles in 1:17. I was kind of shocked that a) we ran it that quickly, and b) it didn't actually feel that difficult . . . minus some minor lung issues that resulted from the chilly night-time air towards the end of the run (we got out REALLY late as a result of it being laundry day).
  • We leave for Austin on Friday morning!! Yay for vacations--especially those involving marathons!! :) Oh, and did I mention we're seeing Spirit of the Marathon again in the theatres on Friday night? 'Cuz we are!! Guess who is going to be sure to bring Kleenex with her this time around ;)

And with that, I think we are officially up to speed! Now, I just have to tackle the 205 unread posts in my google reader! Hmm, or I may just have to clear it and start over again . . . yeah, I'm thinking that might just be the solution. Well, it's good to be back (again). I've seriously missed you all SO much! Happy running :)