Saturday, November 3, 2018

Breathe

Breathe. 

Breathe in. Breathe out. 

Easy, right? Not this week. 

Breathe. It's what My Musician says. 

Breathe. It's what Coach Silver Fox says. 

Breathe. It's what my Princess Unicorn says. 

It's just a race, is what my Tinkerbell says.  Thanks kid. 

I haven't talked much about how I'm feeling with anyone except My Musician.  I've chatted a bit with my coach and with my Unicorn but not to the extent that I'm struggling.  

Why? I hate feeling weak. 

I mean I can be vulnerable and share dumb things from my life, share moments of struggle but at times like this, IN the moment, I don't know how to reach out and share the depth of what I'm feeling. To share it IN the moment is admitting I'm feeling weak, afraid, uncertain (stupid, I know.) 

That's what I'll try to do. I'm not looking for anyone to help me feel better. I know this is a battle with my mind and that the battle is effecting my body.  

I also believe that sharing it, in written word or verbally, has power. Takes the bite out the battle in my mind.  

I am not someone who suffers from anxiety but this week, I've almost went to the walk-in a couple times because the depth of pain in my chest. I have had one other moment that I've had deep anxiety. That was when Little P was taken from us (you can read that here). That was the deepest hole I've had to fight out of (even digging out that post has me a bit rattled). 

I seriously have no idea exactly what is weighting down on me but I have a lot going on. I feel so stupid for how out of control I feel right now. 

In nine days we head out on a long road trip to see our son graduate from Basic training. The night he reports back, to travel to his schooling, we turn around and head back towards Philly for my marathon, then home to get ready for my big annual Thanksgiving dinner.  Individually, they are all exciting but feels too much right now.

I haven't been thinking about all that November has going on until last Sunday. I'm really, really good at compartmentalizing my life. But last Sunday, someone kicked over that pile of neat boxes.  I had my last long run, 21 miles. I was stoked when it was over. I felt great, I ran great. Then I couldn't sleep. I was awake for 3 hours that night. By morning, I could barely breathe, my chest hurt and I was shaky. I was sure it was lack of sleep but it's been Every.Day.This.Week!

WTF? I've never felt like this because of a race.  

Clearly, there's so much more going on. The two biggest events of the fall are happening in the same week. Two events that have driven me to my knees in prayer many times in the last 6 months. Two events that mean so much to me. 

For our trip to Missouri, I'm working on lists to help me control what I can. I worry about the car breaking down and us not getting there. I've sort of solutioned that by getting us there a day early. I worked out how to get his girlfriend home in time for a college test and get us to Philly by noonish for the hotel check in. 

So why am I still being tormented with anxiety? I think it because this race matters to me in a way I've never had with any race.  Not that money, fame or PR's are on the line. Just because the marathon is a fickle bitch that I've spent six months getting ready for.  I'm ready, I'm excited but I also know it can crush me. I'm choosing to try and keep my thoughts on "I'm ready." "I'm excited." 

I have had a great cycle. I've enjoyed it. I have had fun running challenging workouts, long runs that have shown me I'm stronger than I realized, and many easy runs with My Musician.  I have had mild tweaks in muscles, my back, my feet but nothing that is an injury.  

I have had a great cycle. However, I was shocked at the sadness I felt that it was over. But then I turned my attention to the taper. My taper isn't like what I've seen for some and for that I'm so grateful for. It's not a whole lot less miles. Easier workouts sure but the weekly miles are still a good balance.  

I have had a great cycle. I truly believe that's the crux of the matter. A good cycle means I'm expecting certain things from myself. Doesn't matter what My Musician says about just enjoy the race as much as I have enjoyed the journey. Doesn't matter that Coach doesn't care what I do this time as long as I enjoy this one. Doesn't matter that my A goal is to just complete a marathon and not hate every step (like my last two).  

I have had a great cycle so I'm excepting certain things from myself.  I can feel my breathe struggling and my heart pounding just at that thought.  My stomach is doing that slow roll thing and pulse is racing. 
My Musician asked me this: "Are you afraid of a successful marathon." Maybe I am a little. I was injured for my last two. I didn't have be successful. I just had to hold on and finish. This time I WANT to enjoy it (as much as you can enjoy a marathon!!!) I fell in love with the miles and training this cycle. I want to look forward to the next one with the same excitement. 

I'm pouring out every stupid thought here so that I can look it over and then kick that shit to the curb. I need to rest the next two weeks. I need to recover. I need the anxiety to dissipate.  I feel so foolish struggling this way because it's not normally me. Mind you, when someone else feels this way, I think they are brave for sharing and I'm happy to come along side and help and support through the situation. So here I am, laying it out. I'm not asking for help, I know it's a battle in MY head. I'm just asking for patience if I'm not me, if I'm quick to snap or sob! Patience to understand that even though running isn't all there is to life, after 6 months of dedication, sacrifice and hard work, this one day is really, really important to ME and the worry of getting to that start line in one healthy piece is a real concern of mine. 

I always get a little nervous before a race. I'm just going to trust that this will dissipate to normal nerves over the next week before we head out on our adventures.  

I have had unbelievable support from my amazing Musician, Tinkerbell, the friends I've made in our Teams page "The Den", and my wonderful coach. I am really looking forward to the challenges of the next year but first, during the next two weeks, I just need to be able to BREATHE. 



















Saturday, October 6, 2018

Brief Update



Here's a little preview of what's finally coming together, a brief training update, a little chat on our upcoming weekend of 4 races at RWF and the party with our phone friends!


To listen to our chat, click HERE


RWF and Half Marathon 2015









Monday, March 12, 2018

Weight Update, Race Reports & PR's aka A KickA$$ week

In the last week, I've run two races.  A one mile race and a 4 mile race.  First though, let me start with a weight update.


I'm cautiously optimistic about my weight loss.  2.6 lbs this week.  I actually feel like I'm eating a ton though.  I've dramatically increased my protein intake. I'm also watching the about of fat per serving and the types of carbs I'm eating. Thanks to my friend Prof Badass, I took a good look at what I'm eating. I hate using MFP, I prefer a paper log, but I have been logging there just to get realistic look at where my numbers are. I've been really shocked. Foods I thought would be healthy for me were shockingly high in calories or fat.

I have a huge sweet tooth so that's been another place of struggle for me. I'm trying to find better ways to get a bit of sweet, like a grapefruit with a touch of brown sugar. Yum.

I'll keep you updated as I progress.

My race season is starting off well....2 PR's in 2 weekends....

Belmar Parade Day Mile - March 3rd 

On Friday we got 19 inches of snow.

My backyard half way through the storm


















Parade Day 
is a big deal in Binghamton, 
so the race and parade must go on! 



I had seen on the weather channel what the road we'd be racing on looked like on Friday. I was pretty skeptical they'd be ready.  When I went into town on Saturday morning to pick up my bib, I was happily surprised that the roads were fairly clear.


The city did a great job clearing up the roads


When I'm not in the mindset that I'm going to race hard, I tend to be overly lax about about getting ready.  This was no different.  I had hoped to get a 2 mile warm up done but we were plowing still and My Musician was helping the neighbor plow.

At 11:50 I called him at the neighbors to let him know we had 20 minute till we left. He informs me he's stuck and might have to meet me there. Ok, I can handle that. I begin to look for the running pants I want and they are no where to be found. No a bit of panic is setting in.  I really should have done what I always do and laid it all out the night before. It took me forever to find what I needed and by then he was back and the three of us were able to leave, but I'd run out of time to have a good warm up.

I had him park at the finish line and I ran to the start line. I had 14 minutes before the start. My warmup was faster than I would have liked. On the way to the start line, I ran past both the male and female elite heats. They were just flying up the race course. I so had some ultra-helpful-standard-parade-day-drunk slur at me that I was running the wrong way. Thanks buddy for the info!

I ran the mile there in 9:34. Dang it too fast. Just enough time to stretch out the leg that's been giving me fits. There didn't seem to be as many people this year so I was able to easily find Hill Dynamo and Superman.




Then we were off.  I started way too fast. I don't typically let myself get swept up in the run because I know how much energy it takes from me.  I looked at my watch and I was outright sprinting. There's no way I could keep up that pace for even 200 meters.

The wind was right in our face. 16 mph winds. I have a very tough time breathing even when it's light cold winds so this really made my lungs hurt.

The mile is mostly a slow incline the whole way.  Right before we crossed the Court Street bridge, I was passed by some dude running in a Dino head. Really? I could barely breathe than he ran by my like he was on a causal run! Sometimes that would motivate me but this time it took a bit of wind out of my sails.






Right before the finish. I was hurting here.




Hill Dynamo finishing right behind Superman







My cheer team


Randy predicted I'd run a 8:38. I came in at 8:45. I'm basically ok with that. I know I could run it faster but I also know that each day and each race is different. For that day, that's what I was able to do. The finish line is a big party. Free beer and everyone hanging out around the Belmar Pub. I don't drink beer so we didn't stick around long after the race. It was so cold and I didn't dress for the temps.  

The bling is a bead necklace and a really nice pint glass.  I was surprised to look at the results later and see I'd placed 2nd in my AG and a 47 second PR!  This is my second year running this one. I'm sure it's going on my calendar as a yearly race. 



Pictures I shared on FB.  Elevation is green and the pace is blue. 




"I just run better 
with music drowning 
out my screaming brain 
and labored breathing. "



St. Patrick's 4 Miler - March 10

This is also the second year I ran this race. I love this one. The course is challenging for early season running (aka: not yet back to training hills).

One of the women I work with was running this too. She was telling me about another woman at our company also running it. Then when I was looking up last year's time on Friday night, that other woman, finished right before me last year! Small world.

The weather wasn't as bad as last year. The temps were about 15 degree warmer but the wind was about the same. I didn't think I had overdressed but I found out part way though that I certainly did!

I broke the Sharpie out for this race. I wrote my projected splits on my hand since that always helps me to stay on track. Of course I had to add my hashtag #BeTheLion and the hashtag from Fatman Chronicles and the Neon Runner's words "It's going to hurt", they all inspire me.



The day didn't start well though. I woke not feeling good. I spent way to much time running to the bathroom. At the time I attributed it to nerves but after a weekend of not feeling well, I'm pretty sure it's a bug I have. We had to stop at McDonalds on the way to the race so I could use the bathroom again. Geez. Tinkerbell grabbed pancakes while there and they were so slow, it made us laster than we already were.

I got to the start line with just enough time to run a half mile warmup, quick port-a-potta stop and met them at the start line. Once the race started, I couldn't find them on the side where they always stand. Oh, there they are!!  I always make sure My Musician can find me!



Mile 1 - Wasn't too bad. A little faster than I projected but the pace kept going up and down because there were so many people. I popped my headphones in and turned up my music. I didn't want to hear my brain today. I just run better with music drowning out my screaming brain and labored breathing. I feel bad for people around me who have to listen to my extremely noisy breathing!


Mile 2 - As we turned to run over the bridge on Riverside Drive, I began to look for Tinkerbell and My Musician. I had already stripped off my ear warmers and gloves. They were no where to be found, although maybe I missed them. The pot holes this time of year are bad and I spent a lot of the race watching where my feet were going. The small little "hills" were so hard. I need to start spending some time on hills again.  This mile had my HR really high and my breathing was really difficult. This was my slowest mile.

Mile 3 - Is the turn on Beethoven. By this time, I was overheating with the wind to my back. As we started running up the hill, I stripped off my coat that I was wearing under my shirt. I was pretty sure that I'd fall on my face with my arms all bound up in my coat and shirt.

This mile had a guy that scared me a bit. As we were nearing Seminary Ave, I could see by his body language out his car window, that I wanted to remove my headphones and hear him. He was yelling at the young volunteer trying to control traffic. He was yelling at her asking, "Can I just go now? Can I?" and he was toeing his gas pedal. I seriously thought he was going to just drive through us runners to get out.  There was barely a break in the runner right behind me and he yelled at her that he was just going to go now and bolted onto the race course.  I really wish my phones camera wasn't broken, because I would have tired to capture his plate to run him in. I hope someone got it! I felt really bad for the volunteer.



That mile actually feels the hardest but the "shortest" of them all. You ever have a mile that felt like it was 4 miles long? This mile felt more like a half mile.

Mile 4 - The last mile starts as we turn off of Beethoven onto to Main Street. This is where I start grinning because I know I can make up some time on this slight downhill before the last big hill.  I dropped one of my dollar store gloves. For a split second I almost stopped but kept going. Then this nice guy comes running up from behind me to give it to me.

The last hurdle is the slow uphill of Chestnut St.  Strava.com says parts of it is a 5% grade but it really isn't a bad hill.  I'm just tired at that point and want it over. I was really struggling up it when I looked up and at the hill across the river.  One of my Sub 30 friends had gotten a tattoo the day before. It's of 4 pine trees, a personal representation for her.  Well, there they were. Looking down over me. It gave me such a boost. It reminded me of her strength and the strength of all the strong women I surround myself with and I'm honored to know.

As we got to the top, this woman I'd been leapfrogging with, came up next to me. I looked over and told her great job on the hill and she said the same to me.  We ran side by side around the turn and down the last .40 of the race. I was very dizzy and my vision went a little shaded a couple times here because I really started to push my pace. I heard her say something about the finish line has to be close but she sounded very far way and there was no way I could respond right then.  I slowed just a touch. Only two other races have I ever felt like I was going to pass out. I was definitely feeling that as I could see the finish line. She had pulled ahead of me a little and I was trying to catch up and pass her. A lesson from my first coach has always stuck with me "Pick someone in front of you and reel them in, pass them and keep them behind you". I just didn't have enough left right then to do that.

Take a look at her number as she's crossing the finish line right before me! 

So the world being small that mentioned earlier....yeah, it got even smaller. This is the woman who works at the same company as me! She finished right before me last year too.


120 and 121 




wow, turning my foot funny as I'm breaking



#BeTheLion


This race has a great after party




My beautiful friend

Another pint glass



Final gun time 37:02. I'm thrilled with it because I was planning a bit slower race.  I had a 37 second PR with this one.

This race is definitely on my yearly radar. Although, I really love all our local races.

Two weeks till my next race and three weeks till my next tattoo.  Enjoying March this year.

#BeTheLion









Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Finally Increasing Miles

I have a little over 6 weeks to my 1st half marathon this year. I'm running the Scranton marathon with a team at work. Until this week, I haven't had very high mileage weeks, or very consistent running for that matter. So I sat down last weekend and worked out the next 6+ weeks of running. (worked on getting my half & marathon medals hung up too)


This medal holder is for only marathon and half marathon medals. All my others are on a
different display. 


Last Sunday, Hill Dynamo and I ran 6 miles in the town next to us. We needed a change of scenery. It was in the high 40's which was wonderful, especially because we had wet feet by the time we were done. The sidewalks still had a lot of snow or big puddles from melted snow. We always have fun when running together, even when it sucks. I stopped for what felt like a million times because my legs and hips were bothering me.  I had to keep stretching but we got the miles done.

It was a gloomy day but the company was great. 

I took Monday as a rest day.  The mail brought me lots of goodies (the mug came last week but it's from the same blogger/Podcast, Fatman Chronicles). Check it out. It's a husband/wife team and they are fun to listen to, plus he's a Subber and it's fun to support one of our own.

So the mail lady brought my Fatman Chronicles t-shirt, which can be found on Zazzle and I was able to add my own little touch of customization; my Gasparilla stickers and Sub30 shirts, unfortunately we aren't able to make the trip to Florida for this race and my InkNBurn shirt that I plan on have #BeTheLion put on the back!


#pavementforbreakfast



Tuesday was a 5 am day. Hill Dynamo and I met to get an early 4 miler. It's my favorite time to run, before the day starts and life gets in the way of getting the run done.  My legs were achy still from Sunday so I made some of my homemade muscle rub "Bone Juice". 




On Monday, My Musician says to me, "Oh that's a nice picture of you on your phone." I responded,  "That's our daughter. It would be pretty egotistical of me to have a picture of myself on my phone's screen." Fast forward 24 hours and I found this picture of myself in 2015 at the track, which I talked about in my last post. Well it's a picture that motivates me with my weight loss struggle, so on my phone it went. I almost always have my phone with me so a few times already, I see the pic and it helps me make smarter food choices.

Wednesday, I got up and ran at 6:30. Hill Dynamo had to work so I went alone but it was nice to sleep in a bit. I was only going to run 3 miles but then I had an emergency pit stop in the woods. Can I tell you it's difficult to find privacy this time of year with the naked trees and no ground cover! I felt much better so I ended up running 4 miles!



I'm starting to get a collection of torture devises under my desk
I looked at the forecast and decided not to get up early on Thursday to run. It was supposed to be almost 50 around 5ish. I bolted out of work at 4pm on the dot. Got home as fast as I could and found out I had to get my daughter to a friends house. So I changed fast and back out the door we went. Of course, I had to wear clothes over my running gear because she was embarrassed by my See-From-Outer-Space yellow shirt and too tight shorts. I chatted with the mom for a bit and off I went for my running date.  I broke the no-loud-music-when-running-on-the-road rule but I needed to just run hard and it drowns out the sound of my labored breathing and my brain screaming at me.

I wanted to stop so many times on this run. My lungs hurt, it was glorious. My legs hurt, but I pushed them anyway. It's not my fastest run but I haven't seen these paces out of me in a long time. It felt amazing. It was just the kind of run I needed. Look forward to getting through the Scranton half and starting to work on some targeted speed work.

I could not stop grinning after this one #BeTheLion

Friday is my rest day and I needed it.  My legs were a bit tight and sore from the night before's run.

I decided to do my long run on Saturday because of the upcoming snow storm.  It wasn't warm but it was sunny.  I felt really good going into this run.  One of my Fast Bitches does a #nowatchme, where you run by feel. I don't normally run that way but decided to try because I wanted to keep the run comfortable.  I had a goal of around 10:30 per mile and I'm pretty pleased with the overall run.

I'm always grateful for My Musician because he'll drop everything to rescue me. I was a couple miles into the run when my GI issues flared up.  I called him, he flew out the door, picked me up, took me to the gas station and then right back to exactly where he'd found me.

The last mile is all uphill and the very last hill is a tough one. I have only been able to run it a handful of times since we've lived here. This was not one of those times. I made it just under 1/2 way up and had to walk the rest.  My overall pace was still one I was really pleased with.





Views from my 7 mile long run


I'm really excited about this year's races and training cycles.  I'm cross training to try to avoid ending up injured again. Weeks like this help to really motivate me.  I can't wait to see what the spring brings.

#BeTheLion







Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Over Due Ramblings


I ran 6 miles of this 15k without my shoes


Hi there. Yes, it really is me. I know it's been awhile.  I ran a few fun races last year, ran part of a 15k without shoes, DNF in a race I always run because of severe leg pain, participated in a running series, got some cool swag, ran a couple half marathons, got to run in Annapolis along the Chesapeake Bay, lots of runs with my runner girl-Hill Dynamo, I developed dreaded PF - didn't run a bunch of races or miles at all because of it, ran my first Turkey Trot and it was the first race after recovering from PF, have slowing been working on increasing my miles and fighting winter, and I adopted a hashtag for myself!

Here's a few pics from last year. Scroll on by if you're not interested.


Sock after 6 miles running "barefoot"

one of my runs in early spring. I love running this hill! I only did the first hill that day, it's three miles to the top.  

Me and My Musician out for a rare run together

Chesapeake Bay

Medal #1 in a series of the bridges in the Bridge Run half marathon


OMG, we ran to PA.
Ok so it's only a few miles away! 




Hanging at Starbucks as part of our trip to the local half marathon expo 
Bridge Run half marathon

Bridge Run half marathon






































Herald of Victory Half marathon.  Little did I know this sweet girl that I helped out the last half of the race would become one of my clients. 




I love the bling from this half


My Biggest Struggle 

Today I'm really not writing to write about my running. I'm writing to talk about a different aspect of my fitness. My weight. I went back to work in Sep 2016. I wasn't able to run much at all until January. Then in January I went back to school full time (only for a semester) but the stress of having a full time job I hated (I love where I was working, just not the job) and not running like I'm used to saw the weight creeping up.  Then I switched jobs within the company, summer hit and I was starting to have intense pain in my leg.  By July I had full blown plantar fasciitis and with the wise wisdom of my Fast Bitches group, I stopped all running. 

I am a summer runner. I love the heat and the humidity. I'm alive in the summer. It's my favorite time to run and I couldn't run a step. I was so depressed. Depression leads to no energy, Netflix binging and snacking for me. 

All excuses, I know. But now months later, I'm trying to increase my mileage for an upcoming half marathon and every step is a struggle. I feel extra weight by the fatigue of my legs and the difficulty I'm having in breathing. 

My roller coaster the last year
But the worst is how I physically feel all day. It doesn't matter how well I eat, I'm constantly feeling full and bloated. Nothing fits me right. I'm more tired than I have ever been.  Losing weight has always come fairly easy to me. But now that I'm 45 (very shortly to be turning 46) losing weight does not come easy. I go down three pounds and back up 5. 

I'm currently trying to find foods that are filling, high in protein and healthy fats and fall into what I can eat. I don't eat soy, I can't eat gluten or dairy (I can eat small amounts of cheese). I have a severe sugar addiction that I'm really trying to get away from. Most days are a success but then somehow a Snickers gets into my hands and the next couple days are bad.  I try to make light of it but the truth is my self control has been the worst it's ever been.  

I'm sharing because the more people that know I'm struggling with my weight and the depression that is coming out of it, the more I'm likely to think twice before letting that Snickers have space in my life. 

And I'm sharing because I know I'm not alone in this struggle. I know others are struggling to be fit and healthy. I know we can all achieve that goal but I also believe we can't do it alone. 

I don't want to be skinny. I want to be a healthy weight, a weight that I'm comfortable in my skin, a weight that I feel good about. The 163-167 pounds that I'm fluctuating between is not the weight that makes me feel healthy and comfortable with me.  

I found this picture today.  I don't often find pictures of me I like. I was not at what I consider my goal weight but I was fit and strong.  

This is the Kirsten I want to be again.  

#BeTheLion














Sunday, March 12, 2017

St Patrick's Day 4-Miler Race Recap (ERRS #2)



Last weekend's one mile race was bitter cold.  Monday and Tuesday of this past week, Hill Dynamo and I were running in shorts and tee's and then the temps took a nose dive again. By the time the race came around yesterday it was back into the single digits again.

Friday night I couldn't get off the toilet. My stomach was a mess. I know it wasn't race anxiety because I've had plenty of that before and I wasn't anxious about this race. This was another race I was committed to only because of the ERRS. I woke Saturday hoping my body was emptied out but nope and I was only able to stomach half my morning smoothie.  I spent the rest of the morning trying not to throw up.  We had to drop Tink off at the local University for her All County rehearsal and off to the packet pick up we went.

I drove part of the race course and the roads were covered with a slick layer of snow. Now I was a bit nervous, there was no way I was going to risk slipping and hurting myself. I hate regular sneakers, even more so after this race, but I get ahead of my story, and I did chose to wear my sneakers vs. my Vibrams since they keep my feet warmer and dryer.

We stopped at Dunkin Donuts for My Musician to get a coffee and Hill Dynamo texted me, "How are you feeling today?". I couldn't possible type all the bitching I needed to do so I FaceTimed her instead. I whined about the cold, the slippery roads and my stomach freaking out. Then I was telling her about my friend from my Fast Woman messenger group running 16 miles in this crap and it helped me to stop complaining.

Nothing like a little perspective. 


Cold, slippery morning. Part of the course from miles 3-4
We couldn't find parking in the church's parking lot so we parked across the street in a dentist's office. No one else was parked there yet so we thought we were being pretty smart getting that spot. Neither of us realized that the finish line was on that street!! It ended up being good for My Musician because he got to stay warm while waiting for me. I turned on my RoadID app so he could track where I was and know when to come to the finish line. The downside was we had to wait till the race was totally over to leave.







There was nice swag with this race. A very comfy long sleeve shirt and a very warm pair of gloves came in a really nice bag that I know I'll use a lot this year.







I hope they create a car sticker or magnet for this series


I was glad the bathroom line wasn't too long because I needed to get in there a few time. After last year's GI issues, and at the start of this year, I get very nervous about running when my stomach is messed up at all. I am thankful to report I got through the race without any issues!! 

^^ I have felt like this little girl
the last two races! 
We all stayed huddled in the gym of the church till the last minute. The race was pretty full for how cold it was. I hate to admit that if this wasn't part of the ERRS, I probably wouldn't have run it. But now that I'm committed to this series and I want that jacket. I had to SUIP, as my Sub30 FB running group would say. 

The wind didn't seem so bad at first but after the start we started to spread out and I could really feel it. I was ok until it would gust and then it felt like it was going to blow me over.  With my stomach upset, the cold and the slippery roads, I had decided not to warm up since I was just going to causally run this. I probably should have but I felt great right from start. I had on two long sleeve layers that go over the thumbs and a pair of gloves so I couldn't look at my pace every 2 seconds. I really felt good. The roads weren't as snow covered, there were well salted bare tracks but if you got off them it was pretty slippery so I was trying to be really careful and watch my steps. I kept evaluating my pace and how I felt. I know from past experience I can really book it in the first mile because I get swept up with the field. 

I did a self evaluation and concluded I was doing really good. Breathing was good, footing felt secure, muscles felt ok and stomach was staying put. 

Mile one. I dug through the layers to my watch to see my split. 

9:18

Crap. Was that too fast? I started to let my brain freak me out. I hadn't had any decent food since lunch on Friday. What if I don't have enough fuel to keep me going? What if I'm going to fast and slip? What if, what if, what if. 

How the hell do I shut my brain off?? In the past I'd turn up my music so I can't even hear my own thoughts but I didn't have music with me.  We turn the corner onto Riverside Drive and start to cross the river again. For a moment the bridge feels like a mountain and I think, here we go, this is where I'm going to lose it. For the life of me, I couldn't remember which street the race started on so I start to look for My Musician.  I see him about a block up, we wave and it gives me the kick I need to get my pace back and push my negative self talk away. 

I felt really strong and sure in my steps and pace. Wait, what was that? Something just hit my ankle. Maybe I kicked up some road salt. There is is again. I look down. UGH!!! My shoe's untied. 1.5 miles in and my shoe comes untied.  I'm just going to ignore it. It'll be fine. Ok so maybe not. Thankfully wisdom kicked in and said it'll be better to stop for a few seconds than to risk tripping. I made sure I wouldn't cut anyone off and veered to the curb to tie the shoe.  I went about a quarter mile father and it happened again. What the heck?!?! I don't like to pull the laces tight because I hate that feeling of the shoe pressing on the top of my foot. Twice in mile 2 I had to stop to tie my shoe. I ranked the laces down the second time. It bugged me for at least a mile more and then I forgot all about the pressure. 

9:43. I knew stopping would effect my pace but not nearly as bad as I had predicted. 

We hit mile 2 marker and turned onto Beethoven Street. I love this street. Not sure why. Maybe because all the downtown races go down this road and I feel like I really know it. Sometimes the incline of the road feels like a mountain and I could feel that today but I just dug in and tired to keep a consistent pace on the inclines.  

9:32. One more to go. 

I have a love/hate relationship with this area but no matter the weather there are always people out cheering on others for the races. I was actually surprised at the amount of people on the course cheering. I so appreciate them out there. I know they aren't there for me specifically but it's a great boost to hear people cheering. 
As we turn onto Chestnut Street the guy that had been behind me started to pass me. I wasn't having that so I started to really dig in. I could feel him pick it up too. Darn it!!  That first hill of the road got me. I just couldn't get the air in. He got by me but I refused to let him get too far away. I stayed on his heels the rest of the race. 

We turned onto Leroy Street and I knew the finish line was about a quarter mile away. I couldn't wait for it to be over. My lungs hurt, my stomach hurt and I was sweating like crazy and freezing at the same time. 

8:57.  Over all time: 37:39.  I was thrilled with my finish time. I had really planned and thought I'd run close to 10:00-10:15 average pace. 

I couldn't breath and started coughing so bad I thought I'd throw up. That's what the wonderful cold New York air always does to me. After training runs I have to keep moving slowly or walk for a bit to get the coughing under control. 

Once my body calmed down, My Musician and I stayed at the finish line cheering people on. It was fun to see Professor Math there. I knew she's a runner but didn't expect to recognize anyone on the course under all the layers of hats and scarves. I was surprised she knew who I was too under all my cold weather layers! 



We hung out in the gym for awhile because we were parked in.  Sometimes I don't know if I should embrace my Irish side or my German side more. In their own ways, both parts know how to have fun!  The Irish fun was in full swing for the post race party.  This is another race I'd really like to add to my yearly calendar.  Two of the Empire Races down, seven more to go....


I rarely drink but I enjoyed a few sips of dark Guinness beer afterwards. 









Flat Kirsten ready for a chilly 4 miler (almost always race with my Sub30 gear)
SmashRuns opinion on the cold 































Breathe

Breathe.  Breathe in. Breathe out.  Easy, right? Not this week.  Breathe. It's what My Musician says.  Breathe. It's...