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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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Run up Santa Fe Baldy, 12,622

I planned to hike with the Sierra Club today but at the last minute decided to trail run with the Santa Fe Striders. Both groups were doing the same mountain, Santa Fe Baldy, 12,622 ft. It would be my first trail run with the group and I was excited.

The morning was cool and overcast, 12 of us met at Fort Marcy Rec Center in Santa Fe and car pooled to the Santa Fe Ski Basin. The elevation at the ski basin is 10,083. We ran Winsor Trail which starts out very steep  climbing 600 feet in the first 1/2 mile and 926 ft in a full mile before dropping down. There were two steam crossings and several switchbacks that leads to  a trail junction at 11,000, 4.5 miles from the Ski Basin. The total distance from beginning to the top of Baldy is 6.5 miles. My Garmin recorded 4,617 ft of total elevation gain.

We had three groups of people, the super speedy, the middle, and the back. It was interesting because some of the super speedy were further back because the hills were so killer; the front pack was wildly strong and fast. I pretty much ran alone in the middle not seeing another person until we approached mile 3 when I started reeling in a couple of the guys who were not having a very good day.  I should say I did not see another runner. I ran into my Sierra Clubs buddies  a couple of miles in at that was really awesome.

The hills and rocks were taking a toll on everyone. We regrouped at the 4.5 mile marker and everyone turned back except for Eric and I, two people never  made it to the 4.5 mile marker. Eric and I  ran and power hiked to the top. About 200 feet below the summit there was a big herd of cattle. I saw the biggest bull I have ever seen in my life. I could not believe they were  there. Maybe it was a mirage, it was hard work getting up there.  Eric is a superstar runner so it is no issue for him. I think it was kind of him to power walk the huge rocky incline with me because I know he could have gone on. After climbing over about 1/2 mile of boulders  we came to a grassy path  and ran to the summit. From mile 5.5  to 6.5 there was 1279′ of elevation gain. That is some serious climbing.

The views at the top were spectacular.  We took photos, walked around and checked stuff out before heading back down. There were big storm clouds brewing.

I felt on top the world today.  It was a very steep climb but so rewarding. It was slow and to give you reference, my 1/2 marathon road mile splits were  between 7:30 and 8:00. My mountain trail run splits were between 12:00 and 23:40.  I hit 7:00′s and 8:00′s during those miles but that was in  bursts of a short downhill running. Most miles were between 12:00 and 15:00, obviously the 23:00 mile pace was a  power walk, or maybe just a walk.  The total uphill took me 1:51, which is wildly slow but I am super proud of it. The downhill was  faster. Total moving time from beginning to end according to Garmin was  3:18 with an overall time of 3:26 for the full 13 miles. I left my watch on during breaks so I assume that is the discrepancy. I may not be getting in my marathon training mileage but I am certainly getting in the time.

Normally hiking I take a pack with my headlamp, 3 liters of water, snacks, rain jacket, warm jacket, etc. Today I had on a t-shirt, shorts and carried one pint of Gatorade and two gels. Near the end my body felt good but I was out of gas to move any faster.  I ran a 12:00 pace for the last three miles, which unfortunately went back up hill after a downhill. At the finish Jim, the Striders President was there with Gatorade, water, cookies and  salted peanuts, it was awesome. I was so happy. I also loved that I had the whole day ahead of me. We were done at noon and if I was hiking with my Sierra Club buddies, it would have been great fun but we would not have finished before 4:00. The Sierra Club book states it is an 8 hour hike and they are always right on. Sometimes a 3.5 hour run is best way to go and today it really was. I can’t wait until next Sunday.

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Hilary standing in snow just below Wheeler Peak

Here is a photo from last weekend’s hike to Wheeler Peak. The guys thought it would be  good to torment all my New York friends. It was 108 degrees in NYC and I was in Taos standing in a pile of snow, shirtless no less. That was just for added effect.

Right now running sucks. I am not 100% sure what is going on, but most evidence points to nutrition. Occasionally I completely lose my appetite. I want to eat nothing. This day on Wheeler I had no breakfast, climbed to 13,160 feet pulled out my almond butter sandwich and ate about half. Later that night I ate half a tamale. I tried to recall what I ate the next day, I think it was  a couple of folk fulls of beans, ran I 2 times totally 15 miles. Monday again almost nothing and Tuesday I was certain, I had a bowl of cereal with milk that included one scoop of Met-rx power. On my drive to SF for the track workout I drank 24oz of Gatorade. I know that is gross but I could not eat and I needed sugar so that I could do the workout.

The workout 4×200 with 100m jog recover (rolling 200s) 3×400 w/ 200m jog recover, 2 x 800 w/ 400m jog recover and 1 x 1600. My 400′s were 7 seconds slower than two weeks ago, my 800 I did not even both looking at and my 1600 was 25 seconds slower. I had no gas and it sucked. It also sucked being one of the 3 slowest runners of the whole group. I still did not feel like eating. The next day I attempted 8 x 200 hills, full walk recover. The first one was good, the second was 3 seconds slower, reps 3-5 were 4 seconds slower, reps 6-7 another second slower and by rep. 8 I was a full 10 seconds slower than #1. Never have I experienced this. The hill was 5% grade. I walked home with my tail between my legs.

New Trail to Wheeler

I feel good otherwise. I am well rested. I just have no fuel to workout at any intensity. So I am back at DailyPlate logging my food and beverage. I  looked into research on macronutrient  balance at altitude. Normally my carb requirement is 6g/kg  with some studies saying that higher altitude requires an upward of 10g/kg. The sad fact is I was not even getting 2g/kg so it was a mute point. I ate until my stomach was sick yesterday, I tried to spread it out over the day so that I could have a good run today. I ate  2200 calories, my carbs were still on the lower side. Today I have eaten 550 calories, steel cut oats, raisins and a banana, that is 110 carbs, I want to get to at least 350 without eating refined crap by the end of the day.  I have a 6 mile tempo run to do in 3 hours, lets see what happens.  I am going to buy some Enurox R4 which was recommended to me by Coach Roy Benson for recovery. I like the stuff and it is far easier for me to drink than eat. It is a 4/1 carb protein balance. Maybe I should get a blender and make smoothies. Jesus I sound like a lunatic, hum, maybe that is part of my problem too.

Ridgeline to Wheeler

I am sure the going from 6,000ft to 13,000ft 2 times a week doesn’t help, nor does my living at 6,000 and working out at 7200 help. The highest of those altitudes completely removes any desire I have to eat and it has caught up with me. No fuel – no run, very simple, but it does does not make eating any easier when I really do not want to.

Oh and all the Gaterade I drank before the workout nearly caused a major problem during the 400′s, thankfully I was able to keep everything in but it was ugly!

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I won! I won! I won! and not just my age group – 1st female, 5th overall – with men.  Today was the Po’Pay 5k race that took place at  Ohkay Owingeh ( formerly San Juan Pueblo). This race has been going on 30 years and draws mostly runners from the Pueblo and a few Anglos like myself. I do not know historical ratios I am just commenting on today. I only know the largest number of runners so far was 400, today was under 100.  The race marks the Pueblo revolt from the Spanish over 300 years ago.

Pre-race: super organized, a lot of young runners, one girl had on her Foot Locker Cross Country Championship race shirt from 2010. I figured she would fly out of there. There  were a few other really thin lanky young women, high school and college. I figured they would dust me. I checked out the older competition, my age group was 46-65 and I saw one women who may give me a run.

The course was circular and  dirt, my favorite. I brought my cross country flats. I had no idea if this was a road race or trail so I brought both types of racing flats.

I felt good despite a 7 hour hike with a straight up 3000′ climb of Mt. Frazier yesterday. My quads were hard as rocks, but the 12,163 ft mountain filled me with energy and excitement.

We lined up on the orange sprayed line. We were told to take off our hats and glasses and a Tribal Council Member said the prayer. It was fantastic. There was this great rhythm to the prayer and it went on for a long time. I had no idea of course what he was saying but I assumed it was “thank you and let these legs work well.”

The gun when off, I started on the line with 2 other women, and the men. Our rabbit was an ATV. I let the women go ahead of me but about 1/2 mile in I passed one, then a mile in I passed the other. At mile one a very strong women passed me, weighing about 100 pounds and easily moving. She stayed about 20-40 meters in front of me most of the way. The first two miles were up but gradual, only about 100 feet each mile. Then after 2 miles  it started to drop and I worked the downhills, hard. I was gaining on her. Running at elevation is weird, it is way slower and breathing is way more labored, but because it is slow, I have no lactic acid build up, my legs never get heavy they just can’t go fast. I thought, “When should I make my move?” I can catch her but we are over 1 mile to the finish. I do not want to puke at the finish line, I always have dry heaves when I work hard, and I did not want to be outkicked in the last 200 meters which is easy for someone to do to me.

But I need to push. It was the two of us plus an older man, older like me, who obviously runs a lot. I took a chance, I passed her, he pushed hard, I let him pull me a bit then passed him. In passing I verbally prodded him on, “come-one” I wanted him with me, until I would push again. I dug in deep. I hoped that my passing her would psychologically let her drop back but it didn’t she kept pushing. I saw two men about 400 meter from the finish. It was her coach. I thought, “oh god don’t let me fall apart now.” I push and pushed. I heard the people at the finish. I tried to make my legs work as fast as they possibly could, it was only 200 meters, get me into the 6:00 pace please, don’t let her pass me. And there it was, I crossed the finished, first women, they were 10 seconds behind me. No dry heaves, an immediately recovery, then it was as if I didn’t run. Time wise it was the slowest 5k I have ever run. Effort wise  it was the hardest I have worked. It was also really fun because I had to think far beyond, “can I beat her” but I had to make bold decisions and big risks to win. I felt like I really earned it.

Immediately a reporter from the newspaper was there. He interviewed me and I said shinning things about the girl I ran with, The Santa Fe Striders for promoting the race, the excellent quality race. I was told the women I beat was one of the best high school runners to ever come out of the Espanola area. She was a college cross country runner at New Mexico Highlands University.

One of the things I was most thankful for is that the Kenyan’s didn’t show up. They dominated the last Pueblo race – in fact the same man and woman that won, also both won the NYC 1/2 marathon this year. So you know never who is going to show up. But today was my day and for that I am very happy.

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I had another awesome run with the Sante Fe Striders. I had no idea how to gauge my tempo since I am clearly not in Central Park and much of it will be run on trails so here goes.

I started off running with a Syracuse University 800 meter track star. While it started out nice with some good chit chat I was relieves when she went to the front of the pack because I would have had a heart attack attempting to keep up, plus I did not want to hold her back.  I ran the first two miles about 60 meter behind them but got lost in a fast turn down a dirt path or was it a driveway? An 18 year old college kid from Kansas started out in the pack and dropped back to me and we were both lost. He had to stop to stretch so I stopped for a second but when he had to stop again I left him to try and catch one of the other groups. Luckily out of the 6 mile tempo I was only lost 1.5 +miles of it which is reflected in my time.

So how does tempo in Santa Fe compare to NYC?

NYC Central Park Elevation48 Road Santa Fe Elevation7226 Trails 80%Road 20%

April 1, 2011

Time HR July 7, 2011 Time HR
mile 1 7:55 171 mile 1 8:13 146
mile 2 7:33 169 mile 2 8:23 167
mile 3 7:56 174 mile 3 9:35 167
mile 4 8:04 172 mile 4 9:32 167
mile 5 8:03 163 mile 5 8:22 164
mile 6 8:25 163

There is certainly a difference but besides an addition 7000 feet the terrain is radically different, it was mostly on dirt but when were hit the road my legs wanted to let loose. That was a good feeling.  There are those two really slow miles, we were lost, stopping and starting and looking down alleys to find the group, so while running we were moving closer to pace, but then we could stop and figure out what way to turn. I felt awesome after and the last two miles were very relaxed and very easy. I can’t wait for next week.

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I stopped procrastinating and making  excuses like, “How can I do a track workout after  doing  manual labor in the hot sun all day?” and got my butt to the Santa Fe Striders track workout. The workout was 400 meter, 3 x 1600 meters, 400 meters. That did not sound too bad.

I had no idea what to expect, who I would be running with and what pace would I run at 7000′ which is another 1000′ over where my house is. Normally I would base these on McMillan and run  7:12 to 7:27.  I had not run in a week due the smoke from the fires nor had I done any fast work since coming here.  I drove the 42 miles to the Santa Fe High School Track.

I was met by Jim Owens, president of the Striders. He is a friendly and welcoming man. He let told me about the club; there can be anywhere from 20-30 runners at the workouts including the Kenyan. Kenyan Caroline Rotich, NKE who won the 2011 NYC 1/2 with a time of  1:08:52 is a regular and in the summer  so is Rae Baymiller who at age 67 and a  CPTC member ran a AG record of  1:34:28 also in the NYC 1/2.

We did a 2000 meter  warm-up, then lined up to run the 400. There were far more women than men and I was 2nd women, trying not to kill myself with 93 seconds,  similar to what I do in NYC. 400 meter recovery, then the 1st 1600. I jumped in behind the same women, Jennifer, but soon became the 3rd which was fine,  I hoped to pace off someone but I was too slow.  The first lap was 1:40 but by the 2.5 laps my mouth was as dry as the desert, my teeth felt like there were curling around my teeth and splitting apart, I felt like I was pulling a giant tractor-trailer filled with anvils, finished, 7:22. I couldn’t help but reminisce that at the end of May  during the Brooklyn 1/2 I was running  7:30 and chit chatting away with my friend Jamie. One done, 400 meter recovery. Second 1600, I went out more cautiously, first lap 1:50 and finished it in 7:40, a big difference from 7:22 but more manageable. I still felt like I was running in a deep pool of thick tar.  400 meter recovery and the last 1600. My goal was to match the 7:40, damn this is hard. I am breathing like I was having a heart attack and I am pretty close to it with a 177HR but I finished 7:40. Can I match the last 400 with the first, yes, that seemed easy in comparison but the last corner I felt the bear on my back and my whole body was rebelling. Am I running backward?

Once I was done I felt like I never ran. The strange thing in the heat and altitude is it feels impossible to propel my body forward, I have to work so hard, but once I stop it is as if I never ran in the first place, I was not even sweaty. Striders do tempo runs on Thursday and I had not planned on driving the 85 mile round trip 2x a week but the group is so nice and I met so many super great people that  I will go back for tempo. I felt awesome to run with a team again.

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I have had a lot of people ask me if I am sad when I sell a drawing. I always find this a ridiculous question and want to ask them if they ever tell their boss not to pay them because they enjoy their job. Fortunately I love my job and I get paid for it. If I never sold work  I could never pay the rent on the studio or buy supplies. Plus I would end up like the Collyer Brothers with thousands of papers stacked floor to ceiling. I want my work out in the world, in homes, in museums, etc.

I have to admit though I will miss this drawing a bit. I sold it last night to my teammate and friend Blossom, hence the title, “Boston for Blossom.”

I gave you previews of this drawing some months back. “Boston for Blossom”  traces, literally, my rehab runs after breaking my foot in 2009, (my first major running injury) up to the 2010 Boston Marathon. It is a 7 month journey beginning with  alternating 400 meters walk/ run on a soccer field, to 22 mile runs along Manhattan’s west side many months later.

The process is very simple, but  time consuming. After my run, which I wear my garmin 305. I download my data to my Gramin Training Center, from there I upload the data to garmin connect. I output the mileage from garmin connect to google earth. I hook my computer up to a video projector and project the maps onto the large 60″ x 44″ paper on my wall, 10 feet away. I  draw over the map lines with either black, red, pink watercolor or pencil. Track work is almost always red, tempo runs usually pink and long runs black. Pencil, put in there for extra texture are recovery runs. Yes there are a couple of black loops on the track and this does not include every mile I ran for those seven months. But it does include the most important ones.

Blossom came and got the drawing last night and it is on it ways to Dot at Rabbet Framing in NJ. They are my favorite framer in the metropolitan area having framed over 30 pieces for me in the last couple of years, including one over 120″ long.

I now have room on my big wall to start a new long-term drawing. This one will be methodically color coded and include ever single mile I run from October 1 on. I am not sure of the end date but I have an exhibition in March that it could show up in.  I will also do a few “one-off’s” that is drawing that are of a single time run or race.

When you get sick of those terrible Brightroom photos and want to commemorate your race or your training in a high art kind of way, impress your friends with your athleticism and culture, call me, perhaps we can make a deal and you can have your very own GPS drawing.

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