Mini 10K wardrobe plans

For anyone interested, tomorrow I will be racing the Mini 10K sporting black shorts, an Orangina-colored shirt, Asics Hyperspeed 3s and a stern expression. Maybe also sunglasses, although I don’t like wearing them when it’s too hot because my nose gets all sweaty and then irritated by salt (TMI?).

I spent most of the morning talking to the Mini 10K elites. They included:

  • Kara Goucher
  • Paula Radcliffe
  • Lornah Kiplagat
  • Magda Lewy-Boulet
  • Emily Chebet*
  • Benita Willis
  • Kim Smith
  • Adriana Pirtea

Somebody pinch me.

A preview: The highlights for me were Lewy-Boulet, who had a lot to say about fostering post-collegiate talent; Pirtea, a surprise showing who I didn’t research but got some great answers from in response to hastily improvised questions; Kiplagat, who as far as I’m concerned is the reigning Queen of Distance Running (or maybe Co-Queen with Catherine Ndereba) and who I could have spent all day asking questions of if she had let me.

Some news: Irina Mikitenko is out with a “back twinge” according to one of the NYRR media people. Too bad. I really wanted to ask her about compression socks, “good” vs. “bad” running form and other weighty matters.

I have no idea when I’ll get to post about this morning’s chats since tomorrow is a race and Sunday I need to get to work on my third Houston Hopefuls interview. And spend the morning shepharding Jonathan to and from a race in Connecticut. And some freelance work.

Then Monday I go back to my real job. And I have more freelance work starting next week. And then the Vermont Relay all next weekend.

Fucking hell. I have way too much to do.

Good luck to everyone racing tomorrow. I was excited about this race until I spoke to the elites this morning. Now I’m mega-excited. If you’re spectating, you’re in for quite a show. I am amazed at the depth of talent NYRR will have assembled on the starting line this year. Nice video with some history.

There will be a New York Harriers cheering section at Engineer’s Gate (90th and Fifth on the East Side) tomorrow. I don’t know what they have up their sleeves, but this tantalizingly cryptic message was posted to their message board this afternoon by one “tmk030″:

We have a special cheering approach planned for Saturday’s race that you don’t want to miss. While I can’t reveal the details because of the sensitive nature of the subject; this is one spectacle that you don’t want to miss. Meet us at the West 90th street entrance to the park right before 9:00 am on Saturday and participate in an event that will change the way Cheering is done for races in central park forever!

You’re going to like the way we cheer and I guarantee it!

* Who I think is more likely than not going to win, and I can say that because I’m not a real journalist but merely a journeywoman blogger.

Plans for the year

Summer and fall race planning is in full swing, with training plans to be built around it. Basically, I want to continue to run shorter races, either as full out efforts or to supplement training as either race pace runs or to substitute for speedwork.

The fall is going to be all about the half marathon. I want to reach the end of 2010 having excelled at this distance. I’ll state now that my goals are lofty: a half by year’s end in the mid-1:20s. If I can run a half marathon at 6:30 pace per mile, I will feel much better equiped to start training for a marathon again.

So the summer’s got a lot of shorter stuff, with opportunities to score some points for the New York Harriers, and run many races I haven’t done before. Then I’ve got at least three half marathons I can run, about a month apart (I don’t count the Bronx Half, since it will probably be incredibly hot; if I do that one at all, I’m betting it will be as a training run).

The goal race for the fall is Richmond, VA. Jonathan may or may not do the full, but it’s a combined race, so we’ll figure it out as we get closer. I have it in the back of my mind that if things go spectacularly well this fall I’ve always got the option of doing the full there instead of the half. I like having options. Jonathan has a grad school friend who lives in St. Mary’s, Maryland, and whom we haven’t seen since (gulp) circa 1991. So we can hit her with a visit either on the way there or back. Long drive. But I’m good at those, my record being 11 hours from here to northern Maine in one day.

I will unfortunately miss Grete’s Great Gallop (a half marathon in Central Park) in early October as I’ll be out of town. That’s one I’d like to race, not only because of the whole Norwegian themed aspect (and a chance to meet Ms. Waitz), but also because it’s a club points scorer and I should not only be in good shape by then, but also in shape to race that distance in particular. But I’ll pencil that race in for 2011.

May 31*        Ridgewood, NJ 5K 

June 8*        1500 track race, Icahn Stadium
June 12*       NYRR Mini 10K, Central Park, NY (club race)
Jun 19-20*     Green Mountain Relay, VT (approx 15M over
                 three races)

July 5         Firecracker 8K, Southampton, NY
July 10        Women's Distance Festival 5K, Rockland
                 County, NY
July 17*       NYRR Run for Central Park 4 miler Central
                 Park, NY (club race)

Aug 7*         NYRR Team Championship 5 miler (club
                 championships - double points)
Aug 15         NYRR Bronx Half Marathon

Sept 11 or     NYRR Mind, Body, Spirit 4 miler (club race)
Sept 12        South Nyack 10 miler (could go either
                 way between these two on this weekend)
Sept 26*        Jersey City Half Marathon

Oct 10 or      Westchester Half Marathon
Oct 17         Bay State Half Marathon

Nov 13*        Richmond, VA Half Marathon

Dec 5*         NYRR Joe Kleinerman 10K (club race)

*The asterisks indicate that I've prioritized these.

Training: May 3-9, 2010

50 mpw seems to be my training “set point” these days. I hope it’s not too much of a shock when I start up higher mileage in the summer. But I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it.

This was an eventful week for two reasons. First of all, this week featured the first race in which I was sporting a blue bib. The other big event this week was that both Jonathan and I joined the ranks of running clubdom. But two different clubs.

Joe has been working on Jonathan for awhile to join Warren Street and finally broke him this week. Then I was plied with iced tea and delicious nibbly things by a New York Harrier on Saturday and in a moment of weakness said I’d join up to bolster the 40+ womens scoring.

I don’t know how competitive these two clubs are against each other, but I suspect that once we start racing for points in earnest, the crockery will be flying. I’ve already warned Joe that I plan to sabotage Jonathan’s training at every opportunity.*

I also have to admit that I don’t really understand the points scoring system, which seems arcane, at least at first glance. But this isn’t the first time I’ve committed to something with only a vague understanding of the requirements or consequences.

Below is a picture of me with said troublemaker. We are admiring our magical blue bibs (her first as well).


The week was capped with Yet Another Race, a Mother’s Day themed 4 miler. This is getting old, I know. So old that I’m not even going to write a dedicated race report this time. Since I’m on the subject anyway, here’s my quasi race report:

On the surface, it looks like I made zero progress between this 4 miler and the 4 miler on the exact same course in March. March was a 27:34. Today was a 27:35. But one must look at the splits, grasshopper. The splits. Very important. The splits, they hold the knowledge.

March: 6:47, 6:48, 7:06, 6:42

Today: 6:47, 6:43, 7:18, 6:34

It was hellaciously windy this morning, a very strong wind mostly going from west to east, although at times it felt southwesterly. My goal was to try to run 6:45s for at least three of the four miles. Mile three on this course is always awful for me — the transverse is often windy (as it was today) and the hills on mile three, while rolling, are exhausting.

I established a 6:45ish pace pretty much immediately and was feeling really good until the transverse when the wall of wind hit us. I was really working during mile three but trying to not work so hard that I’d wreck myself for the last mile. I was more successful with that today than I typically am, as evidenced by my 6:34 final mile. This is why looking at splits is important; they tell a more informative story than the finish line clock does. I’ve got a higher level of speed endurance than I had six weeks ago. I credit all the racing for that.

I also started up with the weight training again and have been experimenting with eating loads of protein and a bit more fat throughout the day. I lost three pounds, although I know quite a bit of it was water weight. But at least the scale’s moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, as part of this effort I’m tee-totaling, which is always a drag. But I find it’s easier to just not drink than to try to drink in moderation. Not because I have a problem. I just love to drink.

I briefly flirted with the idea of doing next Saturday’s Healthy Kidney 10K race. But I need to keep my eye on the immediate prize: running a halfway decent 1500 on the 18th. Racing a hilly 10K three days before that is not going to help. So next week will feature two speed sessions: another cutdown workout on Tuesday followed by some 300s (this is new) on Friday.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 400m repeats I did this week, hitting most of them at 90, although I cut the session short at the tail end of the ninth one when my pace fell off and my left hamstring started complaining. It’s taken so many hard lessons to learn to cut a workout short when there’s an issue, or not do it at all if it’s the wrong day to try.

In other news, my Olympic Trials interview project has started off well. I’ve got at least six women who are very interested in taking part, and I’m hoping to add at least a couple more to my roster. But I haven’t stopped looking. All the women have quite different running/racing backgrounds, which I’m very happy about. They are all interesting in one way or another.

*Since I am the nutritional director of the household this should be very easy for me to do. I’ll plan to feed him copious amounts of goose liver paté, slightly spoiled Stilton cheese and Baconnaise. I’m also going to start keeping an airhorn next to the bed for very early morning wakeups.

Reese Ruhpoort: NYRR Scootluhnd Tin Kee Roon!

I’m tempted to write this entire post in the voice of Groundskeeper Willie, but that’s too much work. So I’ll limit the ridiculous accent to the title.

Jesus God, how this race sucked. I don’t know what went wrong today. It wasn’t a terrible race, but it wasn’t particularly good either. I just had zero speed after the first mile, which was just barely under 7:00.

Wednesday’s track session went very well and I felt fine this morning. I did a three mile warmup in the park and started to have some inklings that all was not well. It was sunny, humid and getting warm. I hate all of these racing conditions. I am a cold weather racer, my best racing weather being just above freezing real feel.

I’d deliberately left my heart rate monitor at home, since not only has it been acting up lately but I also tend to look at it during warmup miles and get freaked out by how high the HR% is. I knew the heat would just push it higher and do more of a mental job than usual today.

I did a couple of strides off on a side path and, boy, did those feel slow. They were probably in the high 6:50s, whereas I typically do some around 6:00 or below during race warmups. Ugh.

It was also a giant race. Or, at least giant compared to last week’s diminutive field of around 2,500. Today’s field was a couple hundred sweating bodies short of 8,000. While I was jogging around, I spotted Joe and gave a wave. Joe would go on to get third in his AG. Go, Joe!

I also spotted a blogger with whom I’ve been exchanging amusing emails with for the past week, Ellen Jovin, another 44 year old racer. I “stole” her AG award last week. She paid me back today by beating me by 10 seconds. We chatted as we passed each other on the way to our respective corrals.

And about those corrals: I was in red again; Ellen was in yellow today. Neither of our bettered paces from last week were reflected on our bibs today. I guess there’s a lag time in getting the credit. Still, it was an annoying discovery.

Two fun observations: First, the NYRR announcer needs a geography lesson, or at least help with pronunciation. They were raffling off a trip to “Edinberg.” I have no idea where that is, but it ain’t in Scotland. Second, there was a band playing Scottish music. I swear, for the first hour I was there warming up, every time they announced the name of the band I heard it as “Whiskey Piss.” I thought, well, that’s a little cheeky. But edgy, I guess. Almost Irish! Then I figured out it’s “Whiskey Kiss.” I like the first band name better. Either way, the music was frantic and repetitive enough to bring on a psychotic episode. That was the last thing I needed today.

So, anyway — boring race bits: The horn blows and the clusterfuck that is Corral Two lumbers forward. We’re moving at 7:30 and I’m already giving up on a good race time today. I’m thirsty already and yet, paradoxically, I have to pee. Jesus, why did I decide to do this?

But by the half mile mark things are opening up and I see my average pace is in the high 6:50s. I know the first few miles of this course are tough — with mile 4 being the worst. I’d gone in thinking I’d be happy to make low 7:00s for the first two-thirds. I was on track for the first few:

Mile 1: 6:57

Mile 2: 7:05

Mile 3: 7:13

The big Harlem Hills killed me, just like in the Mini 10K two years ago — in fact my splits are nearly identical to that race — and Mile 4 is an abyssmal 7:44.

Okay. I accept that and move on. I hope I can regain low 7:00s for the last two. But it’s not to be. My legs are shot. I’m hot and my head hurts.

Mile 5: 7:12

Just past Mile 5 a perky Front Runner zips past me and yells, “I love your shoes!” From the blur of her feet, I can just make out that she’s wearing the same model: unisex Asics HyperSpeed 3s. I grunt in appreciation and shoe solidarity.

Mile 6: 7:34

That damned last mile around the bottom of the park is always so sneaky. It seems downhill, but it’s actually comprised primarily of a gradual uphill grade.

Then the last .2 miles, which really is a hill. I pass a guy who sounds like he’s in need of a defibrillator. A crazed iPod wearer elbows me in the shoulder as he muscles past. I witnessed him call someone else an asshole earlier on. Please, let this ghoulish nightmare end.

Net time: 45:26

16th in my AG, 71.3% AG (ouch) and 123rd woman. Much more competitive this week!

Since I’m now racing at least twice a month, if not more, a cruddy race was bound to happen eventually. I have no idea why I was so slow today, but I’m guessing it was the suddenly warmer temps and highish (80%) humidity. Warm weather is my racing Kryptonite.

Onward to next week, when I take on the Scarsdale 15K.


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