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Adirondack Nancy

Marathon Euphoria!

Yesterday was a real treat. I rode the 6:45am Amtrak  to D.C. to surprise my friend Nancy who was running the Marine Corp Marathon for the second time.

You may recall me telling you about Nancy last year. The short version is, Nancy is a serious hiker, a real outdoors adventurer but she had never run. She has friends, me being one of them, who always talk about running. So she decided she wanted to know what running a marathon is all about. This is one trait I  love about Nancy – her fearless curiosity.   She found an on-line program and told no one, not even her husband. She trained in total secrecy, made her hotel plans, and then only told her husband a little more than a month before the marathon. She emailed me on her way home from D.C. telling me of her great success and all the fun she had.  In our first conversation after the marathon she was already saying, “next year.”

So this year I made a secret plan to cheer Nancy. We had been emailing quite a bit. She started doing track workouts in Lake Placid, about a 40 mile drive  from her home. She gave up hiking to run more miles. Her tallies  are hugely impressive:30 weeks training, 169 miles of hiking, 15 high peaks, 610 miles of running. Nancy sent me an email one week before the marathon telling me she was going on “a little backpack” How can any backpack, especially in the ‘Adirondacks be little?

Because no one knew I would be in D.C.,  I had to make a good plan to see her. I looked at her time last year, 5:24  and estimated a faster run 5:00. I made three hand painted signs. Once in D.C. I ran directly to mile 16, and waited. It only took about 15 minutes and there was Nancy. She saw my sign “Nancy Morrill is a Star” and shrieked with joy, we had a very quick hug and I yelled to her, “go, go.” I crossed the mall and caught the above photo of her at mile 19. She was simply jubilant and just motoring along.

We had one more brief greeting before I jumped on the Metro to the finish. I ran down to mile 26, my phone dying so I could not  track her but she kept tight to her pace. The road was packed with people, and like clockwork, there she was. I was screaming to her, trying to send energy because there is a seriously steep uphill at the end. It goes straight up and is rather cruel.

I did not know if I would see her again but I thought it would be really nice to actually talk. I had no idea where she was staying or what exit she would leave the athlete village, so I just picked the most crowded exit and sat myself there. I figured I would wait 30 minutes and see if she comes by. If not, I would go to Chinatown and get a hopefully non exploding bus back to NYC. Thirty minutes passed and there were a lot of people so I gave it a few more minutes and guess what? Nancy came walking down the road. Holy Cow! What an exciting moment. I was so thrilled to see her, to congratulate her, and give her a big hug. I had not seen Nancy in 2 years. The day could not have been more perfect.

Nancy’s marathon was  magnificent! She ran 32 minutes faster this year, a 4:52 and was 20th out of 90 in the 60-64 age group, that’s 65.7% AG. I do not know anyone who has taken over 30 minutes off their time in just one year. She was just amazing.

So will next year be a Boston Marathon Qualifier, is only another 7  minutes? No, next year is all hiking, her number one passion. Rumor has is it, her plans include some big mountain in Nepal.

more photos will hopefully follow

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Williamsburg Hipster

In woke up this morning at 5am, after being at a dinner party until midnight, wondering why I god’s earth did I think it would be fun to sprint back and forth over the Williamsburg Bridge at the crack of dawn. I text my always ready for an adventure  32 year old running buddy, “David, doesn’t sleeping in sound good?” I immediately get the reply, “race, then go back to bed.” darn

The first annual Bolt the Billyburg, is a 2.75 race beginning in Brooklyn at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge, run up, over and down, then back up over and down. But it starts in Brooklyn so I ran over the bridge to get there, a nice warm up. The race was super well organized by Mikal Cook, Rouge Runners Production. It was Mikal’s first time organizing a race and he did an awesome job. He has to be a runner to do this so well, though I know nothing about him. It was a small very friendly group, everything was like clock-work. Afterward we went to PIPS- Art and Table Tennis Space and  received cool t-shirts, the winner and slowest guy got a hoodie and there was PBR and water.  At 8:00am I would sleep the rest of the day if I drank  beer  so I stayed with water.

I am confident that I was the oldest runner. After all, Billyburg is the home of the young hipster set. But don’t let my grey hair fool you, I can kick the ass of many under 35 year old dudes, and I did. Yea, grandma got respect at the end, boys coming up saying how I blew by them, a PT telling me what good form I had as I came down the final 200 meters at 5:30 pace. That is not a fast pace if your only running 200 meters  but after running 2.75 miles up from 0 elevation to 400 twice, back to 0 then 400 again, I was moving. Here is how it looked:

Bolted the Billy

We started in two waves and I went in the second. I spotted who my competition would be. David tells me I could win the women’s race, my main concern: Do not get beat by the pink skort. I let pink skort go in the first wave and I would chase her down, and I did. But thinking our waves were 1 minute apartment, I was wrong, I did not push quite as hard as I should have. Pink skort beat me by 6 seconds! Crap.  Oh but it was a fun. The race was two hours ago and my lungs are still burning.  For almost 3/4th mile  you climb, then the fast downhill, and another almost mile climb. David came in second and I came in second. The winning guy ran 16:??, David ran 18:?? I ran 20:43, averaging a 7:30 pace overall, the last guy coming in around 24:00.

At the beer and cheer  I met a girl from my hood who I made a running date with, then David and I tucked our butts back in and walked briskly back over the bridge to Manhattan.

Lastly, today is October 15th. I have just one more run to do today and I will have completed 50 runs in 50 days!! Woo Hoo

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 I woke up this morning and said to myself, “I am not running the marathon.”

This is not totally out of the blue. I have been contemplating it the last couple of weeks because frankly I have no fire in my belly to run it. The idea may have started  back in May when I was awarded a slot at the Venice Biennale to run on the Allora & Calzadilla “Track and Field” sculpture in the American Pavillion.

My time is immediately after the marathon. I spend the past two weeks trying to find the best flight,  it looked like I would run the marathon, rest 4 hours and  on an 11 hour flight, have one day of rest then run 4 times a day for the next 8 days.  I can hear the sighs. Then last Saturday I ran one of my worst 1/2 marathon on history waking up the next morning with a stuffed up head and hacking cough that I still have.

And there were still  unanswered question. Why is it that every run I do I feel like I am fighting my body? For any of you that follow this blog you know I started asking this question back July when I was  in New Mexico. I had a theory that all my runs in NM were all anaerobic. So does that mean I short-changed my aerobic fitness? Could I be overtrained even though I was running under 30 miles a week?  Maybe I a undertrained because I never did runs over 13 miles – but those miles were at 13,000 feet? So I ran more once I got back to NYC, 230 mile in the last month and I still feel like I am fighting my body,  I am not tired or sore but I am cranky with major anger issues.  This calls for expert help.

I called Coach Roy Benson. I very sadly learned he has retired from personal coaching but we could still chit chat on the phone and meet up at the Millrose Games! Coach is a smart one all right and boy will I miss him. He asked me how long was I running in NM before it got easier? “What do you mean? It was suppose to get easier?” If I wasn’t such a numb skull I would have called him before I went to NM to train. Apparently I should have thrown away my watch and ran  really slow, working only aerobically until my body got used to the high altitude. Only then should I start to push the pace. A good indication of that would be the ability to run at a mile pace 30 seconds slower than what I run at sea level for an extended period of time.(that is the calculated physiological difference at 7200 feet)  For example before I left NYC an easy long run would be 15 miles at  8:45 – 9:00 pace. There if I trained right what would feel easy would be 9:30’s for 15 miles. Yea, I didn’t do it that way. I pushed every single run as hard as I could. What a dork.

Coach said, “Hilary you know the answer to this, throw away the watch and only slow jogging for the rest of the month. You have an obligation in Venice and you can’t show up all broken. Only jogging! And if a few weeks from now you get the idea to start running harder, call me, I will put you back in place.” Gosh Coach, I am really going to miss your sternness.

I need someone like that in my life every day! “Hilary you cannot marshal a race and run a race that happens at the same time! Hilary you cannot write a review for an exhibition that you have to go see the same day you are running a 20 milers and have friends in from the Netherlands that you are taking to dinner and still spend 3 hours walking your dogs!” In my mind I think, “oh that is so fun yes I want to do it, and that would be fun too I want to do it” and so on and so on. I don’t overbook myself because I think I am super woman. I overbook, overrun, over everything  because I think it will be fun. And it always is, but stressful because too much fun is not fun.

Back to Venice. I booked my ticket to fly out on Saturday Nov. 5th  and by  4pm Sunday I will be  wearing the USA Olympic Uniform and running onto a WWII tank. I just might pee myself with excitement.

Dang I am feeling so happy I am going out for a little jog with my dog.

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Fifth Avenue Mile, I beat both women to my right by 4 and 5 seconds.

I just have to say something about this because it is getting weird. Two things happened over the summer. One, I stopped dying/bleaching my hair and let it turn all gray and two, I spent the whole summer lifting and carrying rocks, thus I got stronger and perhaps I look “better”. I could add I spent the summer in New Mexico, which is far more relaxing than New York.

Okay, that is the setting. Since I came home on August 25th I have gotten a highly unusual amount of comments, “You look Great”  to the point I have become  suspicious. Today while getting fit for new running shoes at my favorite specialty store, which will remain nameless,  the sales woman started asking me questions after I tried on the 5th pair of shoes. I told her exactly the shoes I had and why, what  I liked or disliked. I told her I like light weight neutral shoes which she had great recommendations. When she brought out big soled heavy shoes I told her I wear 7.4oz shoes for my long runs. To which she asks, “How long is your long run?” I tell her, “18-22″ miles. Then there is a silence followed by, “You look really good, Don’t you have  aches for pains?” To which I say, “Well thank you but no I do not have any aches or pains and I prefer a lighter shoe.” Then she asks me if I am training for anything. There may just well be people who run 20 miles every Sunday for fun and not part of any training, but I am not one of them. I am training for the NYC marathon. She seemed kind of bewildered.

This finally got me thinking. I  look good but so do 1,000’s of other women in New York. Just check out my NYRR 5th Avenue finish. This is a very small cross section of the 328 women racers, 40-49,  I would give anything to have a stomach like Shelly Flowers from Juniper Florida, the woman to my right.  Despite her fab looks I beat her by 4 seconds though. Is it their youthful long blond hair that goes with their youthful great bodies? Does my gray hair say I am old? How old do people think I am? Do people think you self destruct after 25? I am really confused.

The other day I was walking the last block to my apartment after a run and a nice looking young guy I pass says aloud but clearly to himself, “nice calfs.” I just smiled to myself.  Because I have gray hair I am suppose to be old fat and crippled?By the way I grayed when I was in my 20’s.

Because this was such an awesome race pic and I am standing relatively erect, I still have a bit of a hunch, I am adding a close up picture.
This race was just a couple of weeks before my 47th birthday, I am 116 pounds, 16.5% body weight and in the top 15 of all the milers in my age group. On my 87th birthday after I run the NYRR 5th avenue mile, I hope that when I download my photos Shelly Flowers will still be to my right and by then my posture will improve.

Hilary Lorenz near the finish of the 5th Avenue Mile

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I have been back in NYC for one week and I have experienced an earthquake  and a hurricane. Fortunately the hurricane did not do a lot of damage in NYC, but the surrounding areas got hit pretty hard.

In anticipation of the big storm I met my friend Les to do a 13 mile run on Friday night. It was really fun running in Central Park after dark with a nice cool rain. We ran until about 9:30pm that night. I woke up a bit sore. After 12 weeks of soft sand and nice trails the cement is a bit tough but I am sure I will get used to it quickly. I had an awesome run pre-hurricane on Saturday. It was raining then too, but it was nice and cool.

On Labor Day is another wonderful Holiday Marathon in the Bronx. I can’t wait. That will be a good day of some hilly, dirty, running. While I really miss the New Mexico mountains I am embracing the wet cool weather of NYC.

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I learned some good lesson yesterday while running the Alpine Vista Trail at the Santa Fe Ski Basin. The trail starts at 9,988 feet and goes continuously  to 12,024 in just 5.83 miles. That is a 6.6% grade.

I started out what I thought was very conservative knowing our high elevation and that the mountain only went up, no switchbacks or leveling off.  One of the guys and I took the lead of our group and we were all alone. At about a mile and a half I said “man, racing up this must be brutal.” There is a race in October called the Big Tesuque Trail Run.  He replied, “we are at race pace.” I looked at my garmin and said, “we are running 13:00 miles.” He said, “yes that is race pace going up.” And this is from a guy who is lightning fast. I looked up results from last year, the male winner was Mike Ehrmantraut – 1:25:40 (7:19 pace) his marathon pace three months previously was 6:06, not a PB, but to give you an idea. Lead woman was Rachel Earley – 1:31:28. The two slowest people ran 3:30 and 4:47 and they were 80 and 82 years old respectively!
A person can haul ass going back down the mountain, that is if they did not stupidly wear minimalist  shoes. Lesson No. 1. I wore my much loved New Balance Minimus but the rocks tore through my soles bruising my feel and sending tears to my eyes on more than a few occasions, so my downhill was slow and cautious with the exception of the last 1/2 mile when one of the women who blew me away on the downhill came back to help me out.  It was smooth at this point and we ran 7:30’s to the finish. Note to self, buy good sturdy trail shoes.
But here is the lesson I did not expect. As I was trotting up the mountain, my first partner took off and left me, one of the guys that had previously not been in sight came up behind me and actually walked by me. Huh? While I take the “I think I can” cho-cho train attitude and kept chugging along, Jim does a walk/run combo. He alternates about every minute or so.  When it is super steep or hugely loose rock gravel he walks. So I joined him. Heck if he was going to walk by my trotting I was going to try his method. It was awesome. Because we walked, my legs and hips got stretched out and when we ran, we  ran, not just shuffled. My time for the last two and most difficult miles was a whole minute per mile faster.  I was faster walk/ running than  trotting. So how does this effect HR training paces? Interestingly my heart rate fluctuated between 153 and 158, there was no large dip because we alternated so quickly and walked on the toughest areas.  That kept me right around my 80% MHR, which is  a bit harder than I need to run for  aerobic endurance, to metabolize fat, build capillary density, and facilitate more blood and gas transport. The real beauty of these tough runs is that while my mileage is low, especially for marathon season training,  my time spent running is good.  Last week’s run was over 3 hours and this weeks over 2 hours, so I am getting the time in and I feel that I am  greatly reducing my chance of injury by running short distances on the mountain rather was long, 18+ miles on the road.
I followed up my run with coffee and a brownie from the Chocolate Maven in SF and met my friend Lisa for a hike in La Bajada, NM to check out some petroglyphs. Here is a link to a meet-up groups photos. We hiked on our own, but being in direct 99 degree sun in the middle of the afternoon took it’s toll and we were out of them in under 3 hours but it was extraordinary.

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A quick update. I was getting bummed out because my tempo runs were getting slower every week with my HR getting higher. Well tonight, after 7 hours of standing in direct 100 degree sun at the Tewa Pueblo Feast Day, sweating my tail off I joined the Striders for our regular Thursday night run. At first I thought I really sucked because I was trailing behind the main group, struggling but still not keeping up. At the finish I checked my watch to find tonight’s 6 mile loop was two minutes faster than usual and I had the lowest HR yet. Finally after 10 weeks, maybe my body is responding.

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