Thursday, February 9, 2012

Empire State Building Run-Up

Last night, Wednesday February 8th, I was lucky enough to participate in the 35th annual "Empire State Building Run-Up," an event supporting the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. I guess the word "lucky" is subjective in this situation- I entered the lottery with the hopes of being one of the 650 people selected to climb 86 flights of stairs...for $100. I'm a little masochistic.

It is hard to train for a one of a kind event like this. To train for a marathon, you run. To train for have to climb stairs! My aunt and uncle live in a 30 story building on the upper west side, and on days I don't get a workout in, or I need some time to myself, I have been known to climb up the 26 flights to their apartment for "fun." When I found out I had the opportunity to run the 86 flights of New York City's tallest building, I began my own training schedule. Climb the 30 stories of Aunt Mary's apartment; take the elevator down. Repeat four times.

I guess crazy people like to surround themselves with crazy people. My roommate and friend, Evan (who would have kicked butt in this race himself) was so excited that he took part in my training with me at Mary's apartment. We would do a warm-up run together, climb the 30 stories four times, and cool down with a run again. We each had our own tactics when tackling the stairs- I began very conservatively, and didn't really push it until the 2nd halves of my 3rd and 4th repeats. I tried to stay within my state of moving meditaion and enjoy (as much as I could) the feeling of each step. My goal in any race is to "negative split:" to make the second half take less time than the first half. To do this, I need to start slow and really pay attention to how my body feels in any given pace. Then, at the end, go all out!

Evan is much more into vomit inducing workouts. He likes to see how much his body can handle at any given time; which could mean sprinting up the 30 flights in the first round. Or experimenting with every other step vs one step at a time (for my short legs, every other step is very hard for me). Needless to say, Evan beat me up the stairs every time, but it was so nice to have encouragement inspiring me each time I huffed and puffed up to the 30th floor! We so enjoyed these workouts together, that we are planning on continuing them as a Saturday routine! (weird!)

Anyway- the night of the climb seemed to appear out of nowhere. Since I had never undertaken such a task, I really didn't know if I was ready. But I guess that's the fun part- blindly taking on the unknown. This was the first year the race was non-invitational (so regular people like me could enter the lottery, instead of just elite athletes). There were A LOT of people taking over the Empire State Building. I arrived at 730 to pick up my bib, shoe tag (to time the race) and shirt (the time trials were scheduled to begin at 8:30). It was so packed, I had to get out of there. SO...I met my friends at the bar downstairs, and seriously contemplated starting an east coast "exercising while intoxicated" blog (see I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends who will wait around for me to run up the stairs...and in the meantime spend $11 on vodka cranberries while they wait. ouch.

While I waited for my turn to run the stairs (we were released in 10 second intervals - and I was the last group of 100 to begin) I picked the brains of all the competitors around me- getting advice from veterens of the race(MAKE SURE YOU DRINK THE WATER FROM THE WATER STATIONS), and empathizing with those who had no idea what was about to happen. One common trend I did notice- most people didn't really train. I began to feel a little better, and also a bit fearful for everyone around me.

By the time my "heat" finally got lined up, it was 9:15. We were released every 10 seconds, as to not have too much clogging in the stairwell. I felt like a deer in the headlights when it came to be my turn. (this picture was taken by my wonderful, dedicated running/spectating friend Bethany right before I began). The guys next to me laughed when I said my goal was to "negative split." Why was that so hard to believe? I made sure to remember to check my watch at the 43rd floor.

Thanks to my intense stair training in Mary's building, the beginning of the climb was a breeze. I didn't even look up until I saw the 18th floor. At this point, I didn't "run" unless I was passing people. And no, I didn't get elbowed. But I did accidently elbow some guy in the face when turning a corner (it was that guy on the right in the picture. I apologized. It's the nature of the game!). There were water stations on floors 25 and 65- much needed due to the dryness of the air. There were empire state building security guards every 10 floors or so- and they provided smiling faces of encouragement for all of us crazy runners.

Yes, this race was hard. It was a new experience that my body wasn't used to, and I didn't know quite what to expect physically or emotionally. Since I have enough experience completing endurance events, I knew that I could do it. There was no point in the climb where I felt I wouldn't finish. And I knew reaching the top would be an incredibly satisfying experience. People may think I'm crazy for doing this kind of stuff- but it feels so good! I guess that makes me an endorphin junkie. I felt so high chasing the one girl who tried to pass me to the finish line (I passed her back. I shouldn't be too pleased with myself; she did mistake the finish line for being closer than it was. She stopped and I stampeded right past her).

It feels SO good to feel strong. I feel confident running up stairs. I feel confident running races. Seeing the finish line gives me a goal! This is my own, messed up form of therapy. I think I'm addicted.

I finished in 18:32. Looking forward to improving next year!

Next: Coogan's 5K, March 4th. This is one of my favorites because 1) It's only a 5K, 2) it takes place right outside my apartment in Washington Heights and 3) so many of my friends run it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NYC marathon 2011

After two years of disappointing my parents (by not keeping them updated via running blog), I have decided to return to this blogging community. Why? I was reminded last night (while having dinner with my friend Carly) that people care about my passion for running, and I would love to share it.

It has been a difficult journey. The day I fell in love with the sport was my first New York City marathon in 2010. Before that day, exercise was always an important part of my life- but was used primarily as a means of social interaction, weight loss, self torture, or some combination of the three. On November 7th, 2010, however, I let go a little bit. I allowed myself to take in what was happening around me, and really experience the incredibly satisfying feeling of my feet in contact with the pavement.

In general, my instinct is "flight" rather than fight, and for the firset time I allowed running to help keep me in my body and in the moment. The result was discovering happiness from within myself. This ecstatic transformation was not only apparent to me, but was also visible to my close friends and family who were overjoyed to witness me experiencing this true happiness.

Since then, my training has changed- for the better. I have found that although running with music may "pump me up," it is no longer necessary to get me through a marathon. I have also found that some of my best and most intimate conversations with friends have occured in motion- staying present in my body in this way allows me to speak honestly and with vulnerability. It's like a much healthier version of tequila (and usually, but not always, doesn't conclude with uncontrollable crying or vomiting. Although that is probably the sign of a good workout).

The 2011 NYC marathon (which occured November 6th) was also a truly amazing day. This was the first time I'd trained alone. For the most part, my long runs were done all by myself with and without music. I felt an intense feeling of satisfaction enjoying (kind of ) each 20 mile run without outside distraction. Maybe I just really, really need more "me" time in my life :)

The worst part of this season was the taper period. The taper occurs the two weeks preceeding the marathon, and allows the body to rest and absorb the hard training before the big day. All of a sudden, my "me" time was gone, and was replaced by eating ridiculous amounts of pasta and cookies because I wasn't sure what else to do with myself. Maybe by this year I'll learn to really value "rest." Maybe I'll learn how to sleep at night. Maybe I'll learn how to not rely on movement when I feel like running from myself.

November 6th 2011 was a magical day. I am in complete awe of this incredible city I live in. I am honored to call myself a New Yorker.

I am also so lucky to have such amazing friends and family who supported me, cheered for me, and even ran in with me for a few miles! For me, it was just a long run to test my limits and my passion. But to be able to share that with all of you, changes me.

The worst part of the race? Getting my powergel packets all over me not once, but twice. The stickey hands were uncomfortable and distracting (gross).

There were many best parts. Seeing my fan club at mile 21; the amazing brunch I got to enjoy afterward; singing and dancing to "New York, New York" at the starting line at the Verezzano bridge; running with my roommate Evan in Brooklyn; running with 5-months pregnant Lauren (my running soulmate) in Manhattan. And the attention seeking side of me also loved having my name sharpied on my bright red shirt- there were many cheers for "Rebecca."

There is NOTHING like entering central park- my park- at mile 24. And is it cliche to mention crossing the finish line? :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Racing Fun

Although there has been a lack of blogging about my NYC Marathon training, that doesn't mean I haven't been working my butt off (literally) with the team! This season has shown incredible progress and confidence boosting for everyone involved. My training runs with Team in Training have often been the highlights of my weeks - from hill workouts, to exploring new terrain on long runs, to exciting early morning races, to enjoying a sweaty, after practice drink and carb fest with my friends.

There is no denying that the beginning of the summer was brutal weatherwise. We stomached some intense heat, and I think that made us stronger now. Pair that with early hill workouts to build strength and high mileage to build confidence, and our season is as strong as I've ever seen team in training! It feels REALLY good to see improvement in my running and strength in general. I haven't seen PRs in races in over a year- and being able to obtain them effortlessly not only feels incredible, but natural.

I have run two races with New York Road Runners (and team in training) in the past month: The "Run for Central Park" 4-miler on July 17th (which I ran with an 8:16 min/mile pace- not bad for the beginning of the season), and the "Bronx Half Marathon" on August 15th. Lately, I have been questioning my love for endurance running. I really love running fast and hard, and you can't really do that during a marathon. Why do I run marathons then? For the mental aspect. The feeling of accomplishment in running a long distance or finishing an endurance event with confidence does so much for your mind and soul. As I've mentioned before in this blog: "Marathoning is a microcosm of your life- the strength and effort you use to push through this achievement is the same willpower used to fight through hard situations in life." The amount of struggle and speed doesn't reaallly matter so much- the point is that the person who begins a marathon is NOT the same person who ends one. Without fail.

That being said, it is a bit more fun when the run is easy. For the first time in a year and a half, I PR'd (PR=personal record) in a half marathon. I ran the Bronx in 1:55:15, which is an 8:45 min/mile pace and a 7 1/2 minute PR from the last Bronx half marathon in February of 2009. I think that is an impressive improvement, but it is even more impressive when you look at the time of my most recent half marathon: the Staten Island Half Marathon in October of 2009: 3:09:36, with a 14.28 min/mile pace. Wow.

Yes, it is nice to see improvement. However, I kind of just want to run fast all the time. We have been focusing our Tuesday night workouts on hills for the past month and a half. I cannot begin to express the joy I feel running REALLY HARD up a hill for a short amount of time. Running fast is fun and satisfying! It is impossible to run a half marathon or marathon at a sprint, or anywhere close to a sprint. I hope to get my marathon and half marathon times faster, but I don't expect to ever get that out of control "being chased by a wild animal" feeling when running an endurance event. Maybe for the last half mile (which is definitely fun!), but not throughout the race.

Which is why I would like to start focusing on adding some shorter races to my race diet. I signed up for the "5th Avenue Mile" on September 25th. That race is known for vomit inducing fast times, and I'm nervous and excited to see how much I can push my body! Sprinting is hard- and a mile is NOT a short distance to sprint.

I will also be running the Fitness Games 4-miler on September 11th- I am using it as a "test" - to see how much I can push my body at the end of a long run (I will be running do a 12-14 mile "long slow distance" previous to the 10AM race).

It is fun pushing my body. I am excited to see where this adventure takes me!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Ahh, we made it to July in NYC. It seems to be much hotter than last year, considering I made it through the entire summer without air conditioning last summer, and this summer I turned it on when it barely hit June.

The heat and humidity really affects a runner's happiness and stamina. It is so important to stay hydrated and cool. However, it is amazing what the human body can become accustomed to by pushing it to new limits!

On Sunday the 27th, Team in Training participated in one of the central park races- the "Achilles Hope and Possibility" 5-miler. It is a very inspiring and rewarding race because we run alongside disabled runners- it is truly amazing what they can do. 5 miles is a long run! Especially in extreme humidity!

This was Team in Training's first race of the season, so there were many first-time racers. Nervers were in the air, and so was heat and humidity. It was a pretty tough run, but my inner monologue was surprisingly calm. I remember looking back to past races, thinking that I wasn't going to make it, even in a silly 4 miler. This time, I just went with the flow. I didn't watch the clock, I didn't even wear a watch. I just ran. I feel like I could have pushed it more throughout the race, and especially at the end, but that's okay. Next time I'll be ready to bring it!

I ended up PRing (personal recording) in my 5 mile run with an 8:34 pace. This isn't completely accurate, because my PR in the 8000M (4.9 miles) is 8:17...but TECHNICALLY I PRed in the 5-miler. Yay!

Lauren and I ran a sweaty 8/10 miler on July 4th along the Hudson River on the West Side Highway Path. I'm so glad I brought a hat this time because my eyeballs definitely would have melted. Running on the westside highway the morning of July 4th has become kind of a tradition for us (2 years in a row)...hopefully we'll keep it up for 2011!

We have another TNT workout in the park tonight. It is supposed to be a high of 100 today. Ouch. Here is our workout from Coach Christine:

Pyramid speed workout: You'll be doing the upper 5 mile loop (72nd transverse to the north end of the park). Warm up from Cherry Hill heading east across the transverse, make a left to head north, continuing to warm up to E. 82nd (behind the Met). After your warm up, pick up the pace to your 5K race pace for 1 lamppost, then recover for 1 lamppost. Keep adding one lamppost to your 5K pace interval and your recovery interval (2 lampposts 5K, 2 lampposts recover, 3 lampposts 5K, 3 lampposts recover, etc.) until you reach 5 lampposts. After 5 lampposts, go back to 4 lampposts 5K, 4 lampposts recovery, and work your way back down the pyramid. Once you get back to one, start the pattern over again. Your 5K pace interval should feel like a hard effort – about 85% effort. Your breathing should get accelerated, but not totally out of control. Continue this pattern of running hard/recovering until you get to W. 81st St. (Delacorte Theater). From there, cool down back to Cherry Hill (don't miss the turn onto the 72nd St. transverse).

Stay Cool Everyone!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sun and Rain

Training is back in full swing! I am back for season number 3 with Team in Training, running the NYC Marathon! I am very excited, especially since I get to be a mentor for the program again :)

So far, we have mainly been doing fun, "get to know the park" runs. I have met some amazing people who have made these runs much easier and more interesting.

Considering how much time we have to train for the NYC marathon (november 7th), it's really crazy to jump into intense training this soon. I was reading "Runner's World" yesterday (I know, I'm a geek), and according to their training calendar, people training for NYC shouldn't begin until July 17th! I guess this extra training cushion is a good thing, as long as you don't over-do it.

Our last three practices have consisted of a 5 mile tempo run, a long run on the Hudson, and a 5 mile interval run.

Last Tuesday (6/15) the advanced group did a 5 mile tempo run. The other groups were working on form, mainly upper body control. These are Coach Christine's tips on upper body form:

Keep your arms bent at a 90 degree angle.
Your arms should swing back and forth from your shoulder joint, not your elbow joint.
Arms should swing from the hip to chest high.
Keep your shoulders low (to prevent tightness of the neck area), back (not hunched forward), and relaxed (to open the chest area to facilitate breathing).
Keep your wrists relaxed. Your hands should be in a loose fist (as if you're holding an egg and don't want to break it.)
Avoid side-to-side arm swinging. Your arms should never cross the center of chest area.
Keep your posture tall and upright with a slight forward lean coming from the ankles, not your hips.
Keep your head up, looking in the same direction you're running (not looking down towards the ground or at your feet). Look forward in front of you approximately 10-20 meters.

I feel like after two seasons of TNT, I am pretty confident with my upper body form. So I went all out for the advanced group! This was our workout:

If you're not already familiar with them, tempo runs are important workouts in marathon training, especially if you're aiming for a specific time. A tempo run is a "comfortably hard" run. We run tempo runs at just slightly above our lactate threshold (when lactic acid starts to accumulate, causing our aerobic system to work harder). Doing regular tempo runs (properly) pushes our lactate threshold higher, helping us run faster and longer.
Course: 5 mile lower loop. From W. 62nd St., head north to the 102nd St. transverse. Make a right onto the 102nd St. transverse. Once you cross the transverse, make a right to head south on East Drive. Run all the way down East Drive, along the south end of the park. Come back up West Drive back to W. 62nd.

How to run it: Warm up (easy running) from W. 62nd St to W. 81nd (look for the lamppost or Delacorte Theater). From there, you'll start your tempo run. Continue tempo run across the 102nd St. transverse, down to E. 72nd (at the end of the 72nd St. transverse). From there, cool down (easy running) back to W. 62nd. Your tempo run pace should be a hard but controlled effort. If you've run a 10K recently, run about 15 seconds slower than your average pace. If you don’t have a 10K pace, run at about 80-85% effort. You should feel like you're working, but not racing. The effort should basically make you think, "It would feel pretty good to stop right now, but I can maintain this for longer." If you're able to maintain the same effort and close to an even pace throughout the 3 mile tempo, you did it right. If you're really struggling during the last tempo mile, you went too fast.

This run went surprisingly well. The trick is to not push it too hard in the beginning, which is something I (and most runners) make the mistake of doing. If you leave some energy in the tank for later in your run, you can run fast at the end! It is hard for our minds to trust and believe that, but it is true. A big part of our training consists of learning to trust that "negative split"- having a faster end than beginning.

ANYWAY, the point is I took it out easy, and ended strong. It felt good to run fast. Maybe I was pushing it too hard for the beginning of the season. Whatever, I don't care. It felt so good.

Our next practice was Saturday, June 19th. Instead of our usual run in Central Park, we were branching out to the West Side Highway, a gorgeous (and flat!) run along the Hudson. When I was preparing for my run, I was impressed with and proud of myself for remembering my "Body Glide" (for anti-chafing) and my sunglasses for my sensative eyes.

Lauren (my running buddy) and I decided on seven miles, which would take us from 72nd street to Charles street and back. A nice flat, slow run (We build up these long Saturday runs until we eventually get to 20 miles by the end of the season- yuck!). I didn't realize how incredibly sunny it would be. I have VERY sensative eyes. I had to keep them closed for at least three miles of this run. Luckily the path wasn't too crowded...I would have run into everybody! Even with my sunglasses, my eyeballs were sweating like crazy. I guess next time I'll need a visor! I think we are looking at a very hot summer...

Our most recent practice was last night, Tuesday June 22nd. I ran with the advanced group again for two reasons- because the other groups were doing the same workout as last week, and because Lauren made me. My stomach was feeling a little funny so I didn't want to push it, but she knew that I would feel better after I did.

This was our workout:

Advanced workout: We're assuming again that you don't need to work on your form (but feel free to join the other groups if you want to), so you're going to do a speed workout. You'll be doing the upper 5 mile loop (72nd transverse to the north end of the park). Warm up from Cherry Hill heading east across the transverse, make a left to head north, continuing to warm up to E. 82nd (behind the Met). After your warm up, pick up the pace to your 5K race pace for 2 minutes, then recover for 2 minutes. Your 5K pace interval should feel like a hard effort – about 85% effort. Your breathing should get accelerated, but not completely out of control. Continue this pattern of running hard/recovering until you get to W. 81st St. (Delacorte Theater). From there, cool down back to Cherry Hill (don't miss the turn onto the 72nd St. transverse). Make sure you have a watch to time your intervals!

This workout involved the upper five mile loop- which is scary because of all the hills! the top of the park involves "Harlem Hill"- a nemesis for most of the NYC runners I know. I'm sure Harlem Hill and I will become much more friendly later in the season when we get some hill repeat practices in :)

It was a hard, hard run. I love intervals, and when you say "two minutes" I will run really fast for two minutes. It was much easier to do that in the beginning. Once we got to the hill and beyond, it got a little rough and nauseating. The weather was disgusting- very hot and VERY humid. We got through the run though, just in time to exit the park and walk home during the torrential downpour. I have never been so soaked in my life. Ahh, the runner's life :)

And we ended with a 9:07 average pace for the 5 miles! Not so bad considering we took walk breaks during the off intervals....

This weekend: My brother's graduation from high school (and 18th birthday! wow!), and the 5-mile "Achilles Hope and Possibility" Race in the park on Sunday.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Here we go again...

After the tough (yet rewarding!) training season last summer/fall, I was definitely ready to take a hiatus from running. The biggest mistake I made between my first and second marathons was the lack of rest. I did not take a break after running the Disney World marathon in January of 2009. It made sense- I had an amazing experience training for and running the Disney Marathon. I didn't want the season to end, so naturally, I kept it going in the only way I knew how- I signed up for countless races and kept running with my running buddies. I ran the Manhattan Half marathon 2 weeks after running Disney, which may seem crazy to most, but why not take advantage of the amazing running shape I was in? Besides, I wanted to get my "special prize" that you get from running all five of the Grand Prix borough half marathons in one year. (OK the special prize is just a patch- but it's the honor that counts!)

Needless to say, I unnecessarily over trained for no reason whatsoever. I had no big events coming up, and there was no reason for me to continue to do long training runs (except to keep my friend Lauren, who was training for a May marathon, company. I had to keep up with the gossip!).

Throughout my second marathon season, my race paces for every distance steadily got slower and slower. Running became emotionally and physically draining, and the only thing I wanted to was be injured so I could just quit. In a way, I was injured- mentally injured. Running was not fun. I couldn't keep up with the people I used to love to run with all the time. I was in desperate need of rest, and as soon as I crossed that finish line in San Francisco, I vowed that I would take a REAL break this time.

And I did! I took a short break from working out, and when I started again, I focused on easy strength training, yoga, and long NYC walks. When I eventually started running again, I would not go longer than two miles- at a very slow pace on the treadmill. If I was struggling to get through a workout, that was okay. I would try again next time.

All those factors got me back on track. Now I strength/cross about four days a week, and this has made running SO much easier. While I haven't really increased my mileage too much (generally won't run longer than a 5K), my speed has improved dramatically. I give full credit to the increased amount of strength/cross training, and intense interval runs.

I alternate between a few different interval workouts on the treadmill. I have stolen them all from the crossfit website, and even though they are simple and short, they can be hard! With interval training, the length of the workout is not as important as making sure are getting a killer ass-kicking. After these workouts, it takes an hour or two to get my face back to its normal color. And I sweat like crazy. It's pretty embarassing actually :)

The interval workout I started with is a .25 sprint alternated with a 90 second walk repeated 8 times.

.25 mile sprint

90 second walk

.25 mile sprint

90 second walk

.25 mile sprint

90 second walk

.25 mile sprint

90 second walk

.25 mile sprint

90 second walk

.25 mile sprint

90 second walk

.25 mile sprint

90 second walk

.25 mile sprint


1/4th mile may not seem like a long distance, but if you really push yourself (which is the point of this exercise), it will hurt! (in a good way)

The second interval workout I use is slightly more interesting.

1 mile sprint

rest 3 minutes

.75 mile sprint

rest 2 minutes

.50 mile sprint

rest 1 minute

.25 mile sprint


obviously, the goal is to get faster and faster with each shorter distance. and it is hard to push out a mile as fast as you can when you are not warmed up! This reminds me of our mile repeats we do with Team in Training- 1 mile as fast as you can alternated with a recovery mile- three times. The goal with that workout is to make the 3rd repeat your fastest. This almost never happens :) That workout will come later in the season, and I will keep you posted!

The most recent interval workout I have incorporated uses half mile sprints.

.5 mile sprint

2 minute walk

.5 mile sprint

2 minute walk

.5 mile sprint

2 minute walk

.5 mile sprint


For some reason this one has become the hardest one. I think this is because I try to run the half miles at the same speed I would run a 1/4 mile. Whatever the reason, I don't really care.

These workouts really work, and none of them will ever take longer than 25 minutes. Intervals always work if you push yourself hard enough. They will make you faster and stronger in every aspect of your life. I have watched my regular 5K workouts get easier and faster without any tears and stress.

I have just begun training for the New York City Marathon with Team in Training (my 3rd season!). So far I have been taking it easy, and not doing to much too soon. I am very interested in seeing how my new attitude and workout regime affects this season.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Back on my feet

I must admit, the last month and a half of my workouts have not been terribly exciting. I am back on the treadmill, and due to the most recent weather shift in NYC, I'm also back in the park! (I give much credit to my running buddy Lauren for getting me out there!)

I have been experimenting with a few interval workouts on the treadmill. I was looking for something with high intensity that would get my heartrate up but not scare me away from running again. The first model I used was the "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" workout. This is a 30 minute interval run where you begin at a moderate speed for 5 minutes and increase the speed by .5mph for 4 minutes, increase by .5 for 3 minutes, etc. For example:

6MPH 5 min
6.5MPH 4 min
7MPH 3 min
7.5 MPH 2 min
8 MPH 1 min

This was a great way to ease my body back into high speeds again. And it DID make me go faster. On days that I wouldn't have much time on the treadmill, I would turn it into a 4, 3, 2, 1 workout. Eventually, I would forgo the 5 altogether and do 3 sets of 4, 3, 2, 1. I was also able to increase the inital speeds and inclines once I became more comfortable.

Unfortunately, I had done just that. Become TOO comfortable with these workouts. Coach Ramon used to tell us that "pain is weakness leaving the body." You need to feel that pain in your training in order to see results. So I went searching for another workout.

I found a workout on the Crossfit website last week that I decided to experiment with.

8 rounds of:
Run 400 meters
Rest 90 seconds

Post total time to comments not including 8th rest.

I was a little skeptical about having such long periods of rest (90 seconds). Isn't resting for the weak? I don't need a break that often! And it's true, I didn't need breaks that long. BUT the 90 seconds of of rest (My rest was a 3.0 MPH pace) every .25 miles allowed my heart rate to slow down enough so my next interval really packed a punch. Extreme changes in heartrate and intensity will warrent the most extreme results, which is why someone doing fast intervals will usually be in better shape than a strictly endurance athlete.

Also, the rest periods allowed me to get to some pretty fast speeds: 10 MPH and faster!

I think these new interval workouts really impacted the success of my race on Sunday. THis Sunday morning, March 7th, I ran the Coogans 5K. This is one of my favorite races, A) because it is only a 5K (a short distance to race) and B) because the race takes place mere steps outside my apartment. Despite all that, I would have been very ready to forgo the race had it not been for my friend, Lauren, who's race number I'd promised to pick up. I had spent the previous night dancing, drinking, AND carb-loading with a slice of pizza at 4AM. By race time, I was running on 2 1/2 hours of sleep with vodka running through my veins.

All these factors led to one of the most successful and enjoyable races of my running career. I don't know if it was because there was zero pressure for me to succeed, or if I had discovered the magic race combination of Vodka + pizza - sleep; but regardless, I am not going to overthink it. For the first time in about a year, I had a truly great run that will hopefully boost my confidence for future runs.

Also, I REALLY enjoyed racing to my "In the Heights" soundtrack. Very appropriate for the neighborhood :)

In other news...

Believe it or not, it is almost time for fall marathon season! I went to a team in training meeting on MOnday night, and now am full force into Team in Training marathon mode. I am very excited to start training again (for the NYC marathon!) in May.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of the beautiful weather!