Sunday, May 31, 2009

Running with the Big Guys

Through my dad, I met a professor from SUNY Brockport, Mark, who is a hard core triathlete. He works out at the Y too, and a real nice guy. He's training for the Musselman Triathlon in Geneva in July and asked if I would run with him and a bunch of guys to pace them. I must admit, I was a little nervous when the triathlete expects me to be the rabbit of the day. In fact, last night I had a hard time falling asleep, because I was worried that I wasn't going to live up to their expectations.
Perfect morning for running. 48 degrees, sunny, and not a lot of traffic in teeny Spencerport at 8AM. It was me, Mark, and two other guys also doing the triathlon. We took off from Mark's house at sub-8 minute per mile. We were clipping along at a nice pace - no cars or lights to deal with (unlike DC). I was leading the guys, which felt pretty cool. I'm not used to necessarily being the leader of the pack. Even when we took to the hills (which were frequent), I didn't slow down and just kept pushing. Mark, who was the only one who knew the route (a 10k), was shouting out directions from the back. I kept a pretty even pace. It's definitely easier to run faster when people expect you to be fast. We finished the 10k around 47 minutes and some change (c.7:33/mile). For the guys, it was all out pace, and for me, it was a medium pace run. One of the guys (who was about twice my size) was lying on the ground after, wiped from the run. I felt fine, slightly winded, and certainly proud. Not only did I lead the pack of triathlete men, but I finished strong.
I may be small, but I can run with the big guys!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

O Little Town of Spencerport

This is my hometown, Spencerport. Population 3500, founded in 1804 by Daniel Spencer. It's very town and I love it very much. I had my CTY friend come in last night for dinner and I gave her a little tour of the town. Walked on the Canal, showed her all the shops and places (like my church and my preschool), and she really liked it. And who wouldn't? But it's just nice to know that others like it too.

It's also a great place to go running. The canal path is perfect, and it's nice to be alongside of the water. Plus, when you've lived in the town your entire life, you get to know everyone pretty well. I tend to at least see one person I know when I go out. I'm so glad I'll be able to enjoy it for a few more weeks. Then, next stop - Saratoga Springs! More about that in June. :-)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Agressively Kicking Off the Summer

Classes are done, I finished working at CUA, and CTY doesn't start for almost a month. Other than my reading for school, I finally have the time to focus on running. I can kick things back into high gear with my training. And so far, I think I have. Friday I hit the track and ran the Gauntlet:
1600: 6:34
800: 3:18
400: 1:34
200: 42
100: 18
So, I'm 4 seconds away from breaking my mile goal! Getting very close...hopefully I'll hit that soon.
Saturday I took off (I moved out from CUA and back home to Rochester). Sunday, I did 7.5 miles at the gym and some weightlifting. Sunday also started summer baseball with some people I went to high school with. It's nice that after 5 years, we still come together for the summer to play (we also play volleyball in a park Tuesday and Thursday nights). I'm not that good, but it is a lot of fun. And at least I know I can run the bases with little difficulty.
Today I ran to my grandparents' house - 7.5 miles in 61 minutes (8:08/mile). I was pretty pleased with that time, because I know I could've kept going for a few miles. Plus, there were some hills, and I took those on a lot better than I did a few months ago. I'm hoping to get in at least 30 miles this week!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On goal-setting

Even with school out for the summer, I still am very much in school-mode. I need a plan, I need a schedule, otherwise I'm just very lost. That goes with work, running, and just the day-to-day stuff. I do enjoy checking things off and knowing where I'm going - I can't just be spontaneous, for better or for worse. So Mary and I this morning made a few summer goals. We won't be seeing each other after Friday, so today we made a plan for our athletic goals. Mary wants to swim 3 times a week (she's rehabbing an old knee injury). I want to: run a 6:30 mile (currently at 6:42) and a 22:00 5k (currently 22:50). Of course, I have some other running goals too: working on weight-lifting, uping my weekly mileage, etc. But I think these short-distance goals will help a lot with my marathon training (which is in 157 days, according to the website's countdown).
Obviously, the big overarching goal is running the Marine Corps Marathon in 3:40. And all that I will do in the next 5 months running-wise is for that. I'm going home on Saturday and I think being at home for four weeks will really help with training. I can get in a lot of time at the gym and on the road and be in top shape before the official marathon training (which starts in July) begins. Plus, I need to be ready to go prior to CTY, when life gets crazy and I'll be doing early morning workouts with the Professor, who has even done an ultramarathon. Love the passionfruit!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A marathoner's 5k debut

I realize I've been somewhat out of the traditional order for races. Normally you work up to the marathon from a 5k, 10k, 10m, half, etc. But I went from 10k to marathon, and now I'm trying to hit all of the other races.
I have a friend of mine, Manan, from CTY who has a cool goal: 50 races, 50 states (plus DC), 5 years). He was in DC for the National Police Week 5k, so I signed up too. Figured it was a good cause, school was over, and I was interested to see how it would turn out.
Weather: 70s, cloudy, and fairly humid. Around 2,000 runners, and I was able to position myself pretty close to the starting line. Unfortunately, no mile markers (would it have been that hard to set up 3 signs?), so I had to sort of guess where I was based on my estimated pace. 2 big hills, one early on, which through a lot of people. Luckily it wasn't as hard as some of the hills that I practice on. Wasn't quite leading the pack, but definitely with the faster runners (this was the first time I was in the early wave of people in an out-and-back course). Finished around (official times haven't been posted) 22:48 (approximately 7:20 per mile). Definitely a good time - was hoping to break 22 or 21, but I just don't think I'm quite there yet. Maybe by the end of the summer. Grabbed some water and powerade, and watched Manan finish - it's always nice to cheer for those you know. We hung out for a bit - it was so nice to see him!
Great race overall: very organized, great amenities (tech t-shirt, metal waterbottle, food and drink, and even the ClifShot gels, which I'll have to try soon). Since the race was for families whose loved ones died in the line of duty, we each had the name on our bib of a fallen police officer, so I ran this one for him. Thank you for serving.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Running with a friend again...finally!

So, I haven't run with someone since Charlie in January. Most of the time, it's been fine; I get to control my pace and go as far as I want to. But, it really also is great to run with someone, especially who can keep you in check.
I got to run today with a friend in the history program with me, Sarah, who actually is a competitive runner in the 8k and 10k races. She ran for Duke in college and now is trying to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. She had been giving me some advice during the marathon training, but we had never gotten a chance to run together during the school year. But now, since our program is done for the semester, we were able to meet up today. We did a 5 mile run around Rock Creek Park. We had beautiful weather: 60 degrees and nice shade in the park. Now, the pace for her was easy, and it wasn't too difficult for me (although perhaps medium): we did talk the whole time. We mainly just talked about history stuff; we were in two classes together, so we were just commenting on the end of the semester. The run even finished with a hill, which I got through, and then was surprised how fast it ended! I really enjoyed the run - it was nice to be with someone who takes running and training so seriously. We're going to do it again next week, and she also gave some suggestions for some workouts.
I was pleased with how the whole thing worked out. I remember when I found out in December that she was a nationally-ranked runner, I was so intimidated. But, I feel very pleased that she wanted to run with me, and it went well. Overall, a success and a blast!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Running in Circles as a Medievalist

This past weekend I was in Kalamazoo MI for the International Congress for Medieval Studies - one of the largest gatherings of medievalists in the world. I gave a paper on "Ghosts, Zombies, and Voldemort's Puppets: Medieval Neromancy and the Inferi" for a panel on JK Rowling's Medievalism. The paper went well, and I had a blast overall. I got to meet a lot of medieval bigwigs and people who are really important in my own field.
Normally, I'm not good at working out while I'm on vacation (and yes, this did feel like a vacation), but I did bring my gear this time. I got two runs in: Thursday and Friday around the campus of Western Michigan University (where the conference as held). Some good hills there - it would be a good place to train.
It was nice to combine my two great loves over the weekend. Very peaceful (lots of trees and ponds); I left my headset at home, so just me, the trees, and the medievalists. Finis.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Passed the Morphology Exam/Good run this morning

Yes, I passed the morphology exam yesterday with a 94!  I was so relieved.  I walked to the exam with "Chariots of Fire" and "Gonna Fly" playing, to really psych myself up for it.  I felt fairly confident during the exam that I passed it, although I was nervous while he was grading it.  It was just such a relief to get through it and be done with it (until next year, when I take another one).  My friend Mary passed her morphology exam too (that's the one I'll take next year), so we were both just so happy.
I celebrated this morning with a 7 mile run into the city and back.  That's actually the farthest I've gone in 2 weeks; I've been slacking a bit.  Well, not slacking - running has just taken a backseat to academia.  But I had such a good run - I beat the rain too.  I ran about a 8:29 pace, which I was happy about.  I wasn't necessarily pushing the pace, but it was faster than my easy runs used to be.  It was nice to just feel like I could go and run for fun, without a huge stress on my back.  Sure, I do have a term paper and final still, but at least I have one more thing off my list.  Back to (real) writing...