Monday, November 25, 2013

Exploring New York

On Monday, the day after the marathon, Mr B, CJ and I met up with KT (from Melbourne)and her hubby for a farewell breakfast as they were heading off to Vegas that afternoon. It had been lovely to catch up with them on the other side of the world and share experiences. Later Mr B and I packed our bags and headed off to a guest house on the East side of  NY. Our room was several floors up but fortunately our host met us and helped carry our bags. Our Canberra friends were on the floor below us which was great. That evening the five of us enjoyed a great middle Eastern meal together in our new local area.
We had another week in NY but as it was CJ's last night on Tuesday we decided to go to a show. We took the subway to Times Square that day and bought cheap tickets for Kinky Boots. The five of us went together and found it lots of fun. Later we finally had our celebratory drink at a pub nearby.
It was sad to say goodbye to CJ next day when she flew off to Paris. 
Over the next few days we explored New York City, Madison Square, took long walks in Central Park, browsed the shopping centres and enjoyed a beautiful meal at Brasserie Les Halles in Park Avenue, where famous chefs have trained, with our daughter Em and her fiancĂ© who arrived in NY a few days before we left. They had been celebrating her 30th in Vegas!
We had a great time exploring Greenwich, SoHo and the Chelsea Markets. We walked the High Line on a very cold day which required buying a beanie first! We had lots of lovely meals with our Canberra friends including one memorable one in Little Italy. We also had an opportunity to spend some time with Em & Court, shops, pubs and meals.

We spent a long time at the Guggenheim  Museum but our favourite visit was probably the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). (Thanks for the recommendation LL). Coffee has improved so much in the past four years when we were last in NY. I have enjoyed many great coffees in NY this time and some beautiful meals.
On our last full day in NY, a week after the marathon, I went for my first run - an 8km undulating run with Mr B, taking in some of the north side of Central Park and a few hilly detours. It was pretty and I felt happy although a little sad to know we were leaving this great city next day.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The New York Experience!

For some months I have been training for the New York marathon. This training has been encumbered somewhat by lower back pain caused by the sciatic nerve and recurring problems with my left hamstring. Early in my training I decided I would follow a walk running program and followed this for some weeks. I even downloaded Jeff Galloway's book on my iPad and read it with interest. However, after several visits to the physio, gradually I was able to run more than walk and eventually returned to speedygeese training and resumed running training for the forthcoming NY marathon.

The plan to run this marathon took place about 16 months ago, while we were in Turkey, when our friends emailed us to suggest that we go with Travelling Fit which meant making the decision way back then! It has been a big build up which has finally come to fruition.

We left Canberra for New York on 30 October arriving on the same day! It was great being able to fly in the company of several friends who were also taking part in the marathon, including CJ.

Next day we collected our race numbers and spent lots of time and money at the extensive expo, before heading for Times Square. This being Halloween we were treated with some fantastic costumes being worn everywhere that evening. It seemed that nearly everyone was dressed in the spirit of the occasion and there were lots of brightly cut out pumpkins and pumpkin lanterns in the shop windows or in market places.

On Friday we met up with the Travelling Fit crew and did a familiarisation run in Central Park and through the finish line of the marathon. Later after checking out local running stores CJ, Mr B and I went by boat to visit The Statue of Liberty and afterwards we visited the 9/11 memorial. It was a lot to cram in to one day, so much to think about. The memorial had not been built when we were last in NY in 2009.

Marathon Day turned out to be the coldest day in New York since April! We had to meet at 5.45am in the hotel foyer which meant our alarm was set at the ungodly hour of 4am to give CJ and I plenty of time to get organised. The buses set off for the venue at 6am. We met up with another Canberra friend on our bus and it was a great way to keep distracted on the journey. The roads closed at 7am which was why we had to leave so early. The start was from Staten Island and here we went to our various corales. Sadly I was in a different coloured group from my mates and thus filled in time by running up and down to keep warm and making several visits to the loo to relieve the nerves more than anything else! There was four hours of waiting involved! It was freezing and on top of my singlet and shorts I wore a long sleeved top, a jacket, trackie pants, beanie and gloves plus a plastic cape. Even with all that gear I still had to keep moving to keep warm.

Eventually my wave was called to the line to head for the start. However there was a bit of a language problem (not mine) and a large group of us were not allowed past the rope until the last wave was due to start. It was most frustrating! As I stood waiting in line a gentleman approached me and said, "hi there you sold me my shoes at The Runners Shop"! Yes he was an Aussie from Canberra and we were very pleased to see each other. What a small world! It was great to have company for the next ten minutes before we were finally herded to the start area.

The run started with the bridge from Staten Island to the mainland. I threw away my top layers but kept on one long sleeved top, gloves and beanie until we were over the bridge. As we approached the end of the bridge I could hear a low buzz which increased to a roar and then we were in the open and suddenly there were hundreds of screaming spectators. It was awesome. All along the way the spectator support was amazing. It just carried me along and the first 20km seemed to fly by. I would like to be able to say that the rest of the run felt like that but after all a marathon is still 42.2km no matter how much support there is and later in the run I started to feel the pain in my hamstring, stitch in my side which kept recurring and general niggles which are par for the course really. I managed to drop my jellybeans and gu chomps so I only had gu gels on the way. I sipped water at every second drink station but never felt too dehydrated until near the end.

We ran through the five boroughs and a lot of the run has since become a blur but I do clearly remember running through the Jewish community in Brooklyn where the men were dressed in their long black coats and tall top hats and were totally oblivious to what was happening around them.

There were bands and music all along the way except on the bridges where no spectators were allowed although on one bridge a Scottish piper led a band to keep us entertained. It truly was an amazing experience with nearly 50,000 finishers and thousands and thousands of spectators everywhere you looked, high fiving us, cheering us on by name, holding up signs and always encouraging us. As I finally reached the finish line I felt fantastic. I knew it was my slowest time ever for a marathon but I managed to raise my arms and smile for the camera. I had achieved a dream, I had held since our last visit to New York four years ago, ticked another box on my bucket list, yes I had run New York marathon and that was a great feeling!

I have to add that after crossing the line the cold set in again. A medal was placed around my neck, a photo was taken, we were shuffled on to collect a food bag, given a foil wrap for some warmth, and then we walked again for what seemed ages before being wrapped in a lovely warm bright orange cape. This didn't help the shivering bare legs but certainly helped the upper body. I drank the supplied sports drink, chewed on a protein bar and gradually started to feel a little more human.

I was so happy to see Mr B at the appointed meeting place. He walked me back to the hotel which was ages away before returning to meet CJ while I sunk into a blissful hot bath!

Marathon 14 done and the holiday begins!

Time taken: 4hours 39mins
Average pace per km: 6:36
Calories burned: 2460
Second half 7mins slower than first half!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Inclement Weather!

Brrr, it's been cold, wet and windy over the past few days. On Wednesday I had the afternoon shift at work and it rained and it rained. In the morning, just by way of a change, I went to a Cross Training class at the gym. It was a mix of cardio, weights and abs work and was quite challenging. It was a good workout and quite different from what I usually do. 
On Thursday all sportsgrounds were closed due to the recent steady rain. I worked until 2pm when I met Ewen for a coffee catch up before driving home to take Teddy out with me for my run. I was lucky in my timing as we avoided the rain. It was a good run and we both enjoyed it.
Total distance: 7km
This morning I went to my usual Friday Body Balance class for necessary stretching. Of course Teddy still had his long walk with me this afternoon. It was not a very pleasant day but there were only a few drops of rain as we walked.
Tomorrow the plan is to run a longer run incorporating the Parkrun. Fingers crossed the weather isn't too unkind.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My 1000th Post

Wow, I've finally reached 1,000 posts for this blog. It's taken a few years! This morning it was cold and bleak outside, a day for catching up with things around the house, but as mid-day approached the sun came out and it was time to take Teddy out. It was stunning at that time of day and he had a great off lead run on the grass and in and out of the drains.

Teddy ready for his run

I made it to Speedygeese at Dickson Oval by 5.10pm and managed to fit in a large loop outside the oval giving me a good warm up before the session began. It was a mild evening although there was one very cold patch on the straight.
Only 7 of us turned up for the main session of training plus our speedy leader. Miranda had run early for the 8km with speedygeoff and Kelley had joined them. Miranda left after our warm up leaving Colin, Kelley, Kym, Margaret, Mick, Rod, speedychief and me. After our warm up loop our main session consisted of 400m fast loops of the oval with 400m slow running in the opposite direction between each rep. This was for a total of 30mins. Then we ran a warm down loop of the oval. Colin and Rod were much speedier than anyone else and were neck and neck most of the way.
Total distance including my early warm up: 9km
It's a rare occurrence these days to be able to make it to the Dickson training as I often have the afternoon shift at work and as it's the other side of town it makes it impossible to make it in time for the session so I was particularly happy to be able to run with the speedygeese today!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Speedygeese on a public holiday

After my push ups and planks this morning, I prepared lamb shanks for the slow cooker and put it on to cook for the day. Mr B and I then went for a swim at CISAC. It was busy when we arrived as it was Queen's birthday weekend and a public holiday but people were drifting off by lunchtime and it was a bit quieter for the last few laps. Initially I had a few problems with leaking goggles but finally I sorted them out and had a good swim - 1200m in total. Mr B swam 1500m. Then I sat in the spa for ten minutes of luxury before we headed home. 
This evening after visiting our grandchildren in the afternoon, I headed off for training at Parliament House. There were very few of us there tonight, only five plus our speedyleader - Andrew, Craig, speedygeoff, Jen, Me and Sarah - all fast runners, except this slow goose! Ewen had run 8km earlier with speedygeoff but left before the main session as he is only just returning to running. 
We ran the usual warm up and then headed down to the lake through the tunnel. I was glad I was wearing a headlamp as in parts it was quite dark. Our main session was running from the other side of the tunnel up through it and on the grass up to the cone left by our speedyleader and jogging back to the start. The distance to the cone was 140m and it was on an incline which felt quite steep after a few repeats and my hammie complained! We repeated this 12 times, each on 2minutes. Then we ran back to our starting point at Parliament House.
Total distance: 7.5km
Oh my, it was so lovely to arrive home to the smell of slow cooked lamb wafting out to greet me. Mr B had cooked the veges to go with it and after a quick shower dinner was served - mmmm, so yummy!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Trailing the Hills

This afternoon, after a successful shopping expedition with Mr B, buying necessary homewares in the sales, we headed off with Teddy for an undulating trail run. I wanted to test my new Brooks Adrenaline trail shoes in some tough hilly conditions. We ran from home to North Lyneham ridge and over that through North Lyneham to O'Connor Ridge and round part of one of  the vets' monthly handicap courses, returning past the AIS and home through the suburbs, off the hilly trails where I put Teddy back on his lead. He had a great run and I must say it was good to run the trails again as it's been ages. Gee I noticed all those hills though. Mr B was flying but I managed to keep him in my sights although he did have to stop and wait for me a couple of times.
Total distance: 10km
Time taken: 1:04 (yes, I was very slow on those hills) 
Average pace: 6.30
Calories burned: 563

Running in the Parkrun on Saturday

Saturday, June 08, 2013

No PB for me today

Last night I watched the movie The Green Mile on telly and I absolutely loved it. Trouble is it ended at 12.20am this morning (being almost 4 hours long) and my alarm was set for 5.55am - not much time for a good sleep! However I was up as soon as the alarm rang, did my planks, had a piece of white toast and half a banana and prepared for my 5km run to the start of the Gindy Parkrun. It was minus 2 degrees outside and I layered up with skins under shorts, t-shirt, long sleeved top, spray jacket, ear warmers, cap and gloves. At least I had warmed up by the start of the event. I met up with Marg there and Mr B was a volunteer. I stripped down to a t-shirt but kept on my long skins under my shorts and wore my earwarmers and gloves. I felt as though I was running well but my time definitely did not reflect this. After the Parkrun finished I chatted to a few friends before running back home. Marg ran well achieving a PB and was only a minute behind me. Next Friday night the goal will be an early night! Let's see if I can improve my time finally.
Distance of Parkrun: 5km
Time taken: 28:30
Age percentage: 70.06%
Place in age group: 1st (I'll have a shock if someone else runs in my age group)!
Overall place: 80th (out of 111)
Total distance of run: 15km
Once home I had a quick shower, donned my uniform and drove off to work for the rest of the day at The Runners' Shop.