Saturday, March 31, 2012

First race of the season!

And it was an absolutely glorious day.  Not externally, as it was raining and in the low 40s (we were basically freezing the entire time we weren't running), but it was the absolute best of low-key local racing!

I met up with friend B. (we've known each other since I was seventeen, truly a lifelong friend, and he's doing his first marathon in May in Wales) at the Staten Island Ferry.  We got a taxi (the driver did not have the appropriate skill set, leading to some fairly comical moments) out to Wolfe's Pond Park and obtained the driver's card so that we could get him to pick us up when we were done.

I hadn't been able to get much information beforehand on the race, other than that stream crossings might be involved, and in the end it was not at all overkill that I wore my waterproof socks. 
It is in fact a wonderful and extremely demanding course - I soon realized that my current road training pace was going to be many minutes faster than this race pace.  True technical trail running: single track, steep ups and down, tons of roots and stones and stuff all over the path.  I loved it, though hats off to those who do 50-mile or 100-mile races on this sort of terrain, especially at night!  The only part that wasn't technically demanding trail was - get this - sandy beach, which is of course even more challenging running.... 

The 10K was a two-loop version of the 5K course, and towards the end of the first loop (which brutally has this stretch of sand as it finishes) I was passing and being passed by a very steady runner who I ended up running with for the entire second loop, which was very enjoyable: the course was well-marked, but there is a comfort level for me in having someone else in view so that I am less likely to get lost!  We had a negative split for the second loop, mostly by dint of pushing harder through the sandy stretch at the end, and we must have been almost the last two finishers (my time was 1:28 - just for context, my fastest road 10K, at admittedly greater fitness levels, was a bit over fifty minutes, and I would guess I'd currently go something like 1:02 on a road 10K with rolling hills).  A great workout - I am sure my lower legs will be having all sorts of curious twinges tomorrow, you just don't work those muscles/hip flexors/etc. at all comparably when you're not having to do such agility work with the feet!

1:28 trail running

Friday, March 30, 2012


OK, that was good.  I am still too busy with school-related work to do 'real' work, but winding down and trying to resettle myself a bit was valuable.  NB when one hasn't done any yoga for a month, the first thirty minutes of a ninety-minute class seem to take forever!  It's a mental question rather than a question of muscular endurance...

I'm running a trail 10K tomorrow in Staten Island with a friend who's doing his first marathon in May: it should be fun.

1.5hr yoga

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Yesterday morning I was at the end of my tether from fatigue and stress, but my talk and my lecture both went well, as did meetings with students on senior essay drafts, and I took the evening off - today I actually tackled and largely subordinated a tedious and minute to-do list, so though I am not back to substantive work mode on my big project, I do feel quite a bit better.  Took an ill-advised but necessary-seeming nap mid-afternoon, and did indeed get myself out the door for what turned out to be a beautiful run.  Perfect running weather - low fifties, sunny still even as it moved towards sunset.  Felt low-energy and was tempted to turn around at the 15-minute mark, but the boat basin is then still alluringly just five minutes further on in the distance, so I did make it there...

41:30 (c. 4 miles)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Terrible, terrible night of non-sleep - it was 3am before I even fell asleep at all, and after that it was so light and fitful it was almost worse than not sleeping at all.  However my workout was actually surprisingly enjoyable (wish I could go back to bed now, though!).  Glad Mark is back from Paris!  Next month or so continues to be woefully busy, so I think all I can do from a fitness point of view is to hew rigidly to the six-hours-a-week non-negotiable minimum and try and regain the ability to sleep....

1hr strength

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Mark's only slot this morning was too early for me, so we rescheduled for tomorrow instead, which really was beneficial as what I have been craving is a run!  It's pretty freezing out there (30F) but beautiful - I just ran for 45 minutes or so, as my right lower calf is very stiff again.  I have been remiss with regard to stretching for several weeks; it didn't have any problem last weekend, even though I ran quite a bit, and I had hoped it had been somewhat dispelled as a problem, but whether it's the three long days of conferencing in fancier shoes than I usually wear or the two days on either end of that with excessive amounts of sitting on planes, it's definitely feeling brick-like again.  Back on the stretching regimen, and I believe I will strive to go to yoga later, though I have a horribly large amount of work to do in the next few days...

45min run (c. 4 miles)

Monday, March 26, 2012


Well, that has been a mentally gruesome and grueling week of no exercise - I hated it!  Got home much delayed last night from San Antonio (exercise just wasn't realistic on this trip, work and associated social obligations too extensive), taught my heavy teaching day today and am very relieved to report that I have an 8:15 training session tomorrow morning with Mark.  Six hours per week exercise non-negotiable from now until the end of the semester.  Mercifully there are now only four full weeks more of classes, though I am not sure that I really am going to survive them (novel revision due April 12 also, which is a nightmare given that really even my school responsibilities at this year are stressfully full-time-plus!)...

Registration opened today for the Brooklyn half-marathon in May, and it's already almost full, but I did get a slot just now, so I think that's good - will keep me running three times a week at least in the meantime so that it is not too horrible.   It will be slow, but there is not very much I can do about that right now.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sidebar action

Liz persuaded me to sign up for the Palisades race (half-marathon in early May), and once I'd posted that on Facebook Bruno chimed in with the suggestion of the Staten Island trail 10K - this is fun...


OK, that was good, morning meet-up for a run with some friends in Central Park (we skirted the edges of the half-marathon that was taking place this morning).  Not a great exercise week, but three one-hour runs is just about adequate and much better than nothing!  This coming week is awkward because of a trip to Texas for a conference (I'll try and exercise Thurs-Fri-Sat in the hotel, but it will require major willpower and organization), but I make a non-negotiable commitment thereafter that I will hit a minimum of six hours per week of exercise: everything else goes better too when I can follow through on that promise...

1hr run

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Feeling exceptionally inertial: it has been a terrible week for anything productive, I have neither worked much nor exercised!  Glad to get out for a full hour's run, though it must have been pretty slow...

1hr run (c. 5.5 miles)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


First half great, then stomach felt not quite right again, so I took it easier on the way home.  Amazingly beautiful day - almost too warm to be ideal running weather, at least in direct sunlight!

1hr run (c. 5.7 miles?)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Well, really that must have been a mild stomach bug.  I spent the day in bed with a stomach-ache feeling extremely grumpy and rather ill!  It seems to have passed off this morning, at least I have eaten some food other than ginger ale and crackers without ill effects.  Ugh, very dispiriting to be spending my spring break without getting either exercise or work accomplished!

Monday, March 12, 2012


is making me very grumpy: had to cancel today's exercise plans as I've just had 2 nights in a row of only about 3 hours sleep.  I always have a lot of trouble sleeping, but last month or so has been particularly bad: basically I wake up at 5 or 5:30 and can't go back to sleep, which since I usually only fall asleep around 1:30 or 2 is really not acceptable!   I hasten to add that nothing is fundamentally wrong in my life, as far as I know; I've just been working much too hard over some months, and pushing on a number of different fronts, and this is part of the price.  Past experience suggests that it may take months to get back to normal, ugh!

I'll see how I feel later re: exercise: might try for a run, though if I still have sleep-deprivation stomach-ache, that doesn't make sense.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Short run

Week has ended with a fizzle, not with a bang; slept terribly and inadequately last night, have felt rather poorly all day out and about, did get out just now for a short run but turned around at the 15-min. mark (and it was just as well, as shortly thereafter I started experiencing mild stomach distress - the bathroom I tried was locked, so I jogged home at very easy pace so as not to trigger further upset).  Beautiful weather - that was a bit of a waste!

Spring break this week: I have to make some serious headway with novel revisions, but I'm also hoping I might finally be able to remember how to sleep properly!  Trainer Mark is in Paris for two weeks recording his new kompa album, so I am going to go Mon.-Wed. to Beast coach Gerald's 11am small-group training at Chelsea Piers.  Hoping to have three very solid days of steady exercise: warm up with 15 mins. easy run beforehand, then 1hr boot camp 11-12, down a few calories then get on a bike to stay warm and spin for real in class 12:30-1:15.  It would not make sense to do this every day indefinitely, but it will let me log some reasonable hours...

.5hr easy run (better than nothing!)

Friday, March 9, 2012


A good one, though mysteriously slow (windy, sore lunge muscles from Wednesday'sworkout? can't really explain it).

1:05, 6mi.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Beautiful short run!

Woo-hoo!  First day effectively 'off' for what seems like an incredibly long time: I have an appointment with an allergist at 5pm, and certainly a few bits and bobs of work to do for tomorrow, but my whole day is my own, and I won't dig back in on my novel revisions until Saturday. 

I didn't run longer because I got up late and then left it rather late in the morning without having eaten any breakfast; I'm aiming to get to Chelsea Piers this evening for the first time in ages, and will run for an hour first thing in the morning tomorrow.  Hmmm, must get back on my calf stretching regimen, which I am afraid I abandoned when I got sick last week. . . . 

But it's most beautiful running weather, actually mid-60s (almost too warm in the sun!), and I was very glad to be out there.

30min run (c. 3 miles)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Have been very grumpy over the last two days due to the fact that my two particular afflictions have struck hard - asthma and insomnia!  By late afternoon Monday, I was noticeably wheezing and with lung junk (aftereffect of good morning workout), same thing yesterday - I regretfully decided I'd better not run, it is not productive when I am so wheezy, but I'm having running withdrawal.  And last night AGAIN just like Monday night it was 5am and I still hadn't gotten to sleep at all - when I finally did drift under, it was only most lightly and with very disturbed dreams.  However I did have a pretty decent workout with Mark just now, all things considered, and I'm only 2 days away from my spring break, which I am hoping should let stress levels ramp down a bit. 

1hr strength

Monday, March 5, 2012


Very relieved to be back in the gym for a productive session with Mark.  Still have some lung gunk and sinus congestion, so we concentrated on straight strength stuff, and it seemed fine.  I am going to run tomorrow, I think - I have been feeling very out of sorts without it!

1hr strength

Friday, March 2, 2012


... dreaded LUNG AILMENT struck Wednesday! Lungs in pain Wed. and Thurs. even as I had extreme work intensity/fatigue.  Now it's just changed into a slightly head cold, hopefully nothing dramatic.  I had a lovely little running route designated from my work hotel, sent to me by a new friend who has been very helpful this week with various matters, but I figured the poor lungs would be better off without it - instead I just ran one mile on treadmill in hotel fitness center, then did half an hour of core and upper body.  Will see how I feel tomorrow before I decide either way about exercise, though I am yearning for a bit of a run at least - might just be 30 minutes, though, and I have already regretfully given up my notion of 'rewarding' myself for 2-3 weeks of extremely hard work with some lavish exercise!  One more week of teaching before spring break, can ramp back up exercise at end of next week once I've gotten back in a better sleep groove (awoke this morning at 5:30, feeling knackered but also completely unable to get back to sleep, ugh).  Very happy to be home, and foresee a quiet weekend of reading for Monday's classes and grading a few papers...

10min run, 30min strength