Thursday, January 31, 2013

Marathon Virgins... Virgin marathon?

Shorts courtesy of C's parents, 2L camelback from C, 310xt
and reflective-blinky vest from my parents.
D - runs for the last week were four 5 mile runs at 9 minute miles, then a 10 mile run at 
8:45 pace. Some how, despite some long, long days at the office, I'm keeping up with Jantastic - even if it means finishing my runs as the gym closes.

Between work and turning 30, it's been a crazy month  (Speaking of which, my gifts were very running centered, and awesome. There will be many updates on those toys to come in the future.)

In the mean time - a very fast friend of mine invited Charlotte and I to join him and other people to go to London for the 2014 Virgin Marathon. I'm not saying we're going... my mind might already be there... as in I started to figure out how I could get in.

There are the standards - good for age (3:10 for me), charity fund raising and Lottery (but you have to be a UK citizen). However, a cool addition to the normal means of entry is through a tourist agency. That was how I came across Not the cheapest  way to do it ($845 per person + flights), but at least all the travel arrangements are taken care of - and in some ways better than the 500 dollar marathon (if you were in the canceled NYC marathon, apparently you can either get your money back, or forfeit the money in exchange for a spot next year... but you still have to pay the entrance fee again.)

So yes - the London would be fun... but how about a race in Antarctica?  okay, that one is sold out until 2017.
Or how about a race in Australia that starts with the solar eclipse? - okay, that one was a one time thing last year.
But they do have a Big Five Marathon that is through a nature preserve in South Africa, one that goes around Easter Island, and of course the organize for Boston, Athens, Tokyo, Comrades... the list goes on. Pretty much the coolest tour company I've heard of, even though I know next to nothing about them.

And with that, I will leave you with an image from the Polar Circle Marathon:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Running through the cold dark days

C- 10 miles; pilates (T, W, Th, Fri- 5 miles)

As the whole east coast knows, this week has been an especially frigid one.  Three things got me running in the cold this week:

(1) Jantastic
(2) The GW Birthday Classic 10k that D and I are running in less than a month, and
(3) Keeping up with D

((Comfort food also helps))
Tuesday night in the cold wasn't fun.  Wednesday night was ugly.  Thursday night I got myself out the door by putting on a gazillion layers, then felt sick after the first mile because I was so darn overheated.  I still haven't mastered the right clothing to temperature ratio, but at least on Friday I wasn't slowing down to keep from burning up.

Or healthy ones anyway!
My goal for Saturday was to go to pilates, then to take my long run on Sunday.  In fact, I made it to pilates just in time on Saturday.. then realized I didn't bring my yoga pants (jeans aren't exactly Fuse appropriate).  Net result- today was a little brutal with a 10 miler and pilates, but I'm still walking (no promises on tomorrow!).

I'm so grateful that D and I don't have a scheduled run tomorrow.  I'll run in the dark, I'll run in the cold, I'll run in the snow, and I'll run in a mix of all three, but I refuse to run in all of that PLUS cold rain.  Gotta drawn the line somewhere!

PS- D- Love the running store/library/candy store locale.  When are we going?? :0)

Monday, January 14, 2013

6 way interesctions, running shoes and candy

 D - Ran 10-11ish miles

gotta love unexpected 6 way intersections
I am really excited to be getting a Garmin soon: Sunday's run is the perfect example of why I could use one. I carefully plotted out my course into a section of Boston I don't run in - really paranoid I'd take a wrong turn and mess up my run. Of course, once I hit Franklin Park, I though I'll just follow the path and be fine. Wow... there were a lot of intersections, semi intersections, tunnels, twists. I ended up coming out the wrong side of the park (and not realizing it) attempted to guide myself back. Squinting at the tiny map, I got back on track, got lost, go back on track again. Saw some interesting signs (see photo) that were a little less than helpful.

But overall, it was really nice to run in somewhere new.
Later that day I picked up a new pair of running shoes for the gym so I don't kill my ridiculously expensive Newton Gravities doing weight lifting. That's when I found what is probably going to be Charlotte's favorite location in Boston. Its a running store next to a candy store across the street from the Boston Public Library.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Running Gear & Goofy Running Medals

 C- 10ish miles, 1hr 36min  (M- 4 miles, T- 5 miles, W- 3 miles)

It's very easy to fall into running routines.  While I've been moving from place to place, running has been a constant thing.  I put on the same running clothes, run with the same ipod and strap, and wear the same running belt.  It's comforting, but I can run products into the ground without realizing it- like the time I tried to donate my old running shoes and realized that I'd already worn a hole clean through the sole of one.

The Old-
Yes, the front cover is almost entirely off and the ipod is disintegrating, but I think it says "work hard, play hard" :)
Nerdy chique

So this season, I'm going to try a updating my running gear.  Hopefully, fresh new strong gear = fresh new strong running.  I've got a new running watch to replace my dead one.  I've got a new ipod and to replace my old rusting ipod.  I've got a new ipod strap to replace the old, which was so broken that I've been holding it in my hand as I've run for the past year.  (Yeah I know, way too long).  I haven't quite replaced my water belt, but it's got new bottles and a new heavy duty paper clip to hold it down (I can sense D rolling his eyes through the computer :).

The New-

Yay- actual time reading!
Ready to Run..

Goofy Running Medals

So D already mentioned my other running motivator this season- the goofy "nut job medal" - which is shaped like a chestnut.  It's surprisingly easy to get me to run a 5k at 6pm and a half at 7am the next morning, if you promise to give me an additional silly medal.  I'd love to hear of any other goofy running medals worth collecting out there!

I've also heard of people running marathons to run a race for every letter of the alphabet.  I'm not sure if I could do all marathons, but if I could mix halfs and future fulls... I'm tempted!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New England Winter Runs

After a very busy end of very busy 2012, I think we're going to be getting back into the swing of blogging - but definitely not as frequently as we did before. Since I've been gone, and C mentioned, we've had a few big races, and some great PRs. I'm still chasing my 5k time, but I finally broke the 1:50 mark at the Boston Athletics Association's Half a few months back (1:48:04). I ran a five miler for the first time in three years at the Edaville Rail Run (a PR at 38:58 - which hopefully won't stand for long) on dirt roads through cranberry bogs.
We're still moving along - and right now we've started our training schedule for two events this Spring. March 23rd is the Savin Rock Half Marathon and May 4th and 5th will bring us the Fredrick Running Festival's Nut Job (6pm 5k, followed by an 8am 1/2 marathon).  My hope is that the 5k the evening before we let me sleep better and stretch out before the half. I will be thrilled if I can finally bring my time to a sub 1:45 - at least the pacing C needs to qualify for the Boston marathon.
For now, its all about getting into the habit of running 5 days a week (Jantastic helps) and increasing my mileage. I seem to be working late every day and most weekends, so this is going to be tough- but you know what they say: "if you make it a priority - you find laundry piling up and an empty fridge..." or something like that. At least those runs get done.

This weekend I got in a beautiful 8-9 mile run (pictures below). I left work on Sunday with just enough time to get an 8 miler before the sun set. It was relatively warm (40s) not too much of a breeze, and I had plotted out a new course. It started off going through a little park (part of the Fens) across the street from office, then out to the river. I was supposed to do a little loop through the Harvard Athletic fields - but I ran into an obstacle.
I got to enjoy a sunset, a few new neighborhoods, a new park and it served as a great reminder to stay off the treadmill.
Beautiful Parks - a cleared path and white snow, the ideal New England winter run

A fence across your path - not exactly ideal

Sunset over the frozen Charles - I'll never got bored of that view. (Though I hear the Potomac is pretty too)