Archive for April, 2008

Hilary Lorenz carving a woodblock in her Brooklyn StudioToday is one week since I ran the Boston Marathon. In that week I came cross a quote from Frank Shorter two times, saying “you are ready for your next marathon after forgetting about the last one.”  One week is certainly no time to forget, nor will I forget the honor of running in such a prestige’s marathon as Boston, but I am thinking about the next and the next.

With the pressure of Chicago marathon filling up I rushed to signed up.  I am not 100% committed to it yet as I also want to run with my teammate Audra in the Steamtown Marathon and they are on the same day.  Why is it such a hard decision? Steamtown is downhill, a net elevation drop of 955 feet. While downhill can sound fun and fast, as I learned from Boston is can also tear up your legs.  So right now I am signed up for Chicago and will consider Steamtown. I plan to race Chicago and three weeks later run New York for fun, if there is such a thing.  It will be my first time with such a short turnaround.

In my most immediate adventure I am getting ready to leave for Tasmania. I am putting my gear in order, making lists of what I need to bring especially since I am leaving the New York Summer and going into Australia Winter.  It is a busy month.  I have an exhibition luncheon at Pfizer Corp. where my show is up until July 15; I am also moving my artist studio.  It will be in the same building in Brooklyn but a different space so that I can set up my new printmaking equipment and Epson printers. My final project before I leave will be a design Front Runners, my running team,  sponsored New York Road Runners race T-shirt for the June Pride 5 mile run.

I received my Tasmanian ticket. I will spend two weeks in Hobart at the Art College where I will give a talk then head to the Cradle Mountains for six weeks. I will be in relative isolation making drawings, going backpacking, and marathon training. I have sponsors for the trip and I am working on getting a few more to help support this wintertime trip.

I look forward to blogging from my satellite terminal on a mountaintop.

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Boston Marathon Finish

The Boston Marathon Review

Yesterday, April 21, I ran the Boston Marathon. I had a goal of 3:38, which is 5% faster than I ran the New York Marathon in the fall. I trained much harder increasing my mileage by 20% with more drills and speed training. I drove to Boston with teammate Audra and girlfriend Lisa. I did a house swap with a woman from Boston and stayed only .6 miles from the finish, which was excellent.

The morning of the marathon I went to the buses at 6:30, by the time they were loaded and we drove to the Athletes Village it was 8:40. It was a very long bus ride with many of us jumping out to pee along the highway in the bus traffic jam. The Athletes Village was a large open field lined with portable toilets and tables of food. Unlike NY where runners go to their assigned corrals, which contain food and toilets, in Boston all runners congregated in one giant area waiting to be called to the start. It made for very long lines and long walks to get to the toilets. I was in wave two, for runners slower than 3:30. We were called to the start at 9:45 to begin at 10:30. Just then the sun comes out and I head to the start, and walk, and walk. I did not check the time, but it seemed to take 20 minutes to get to the start. The road came to a “T” at corral 25 with no way to get to the right or left without jumping over walls and peoples shrubs. It was a mess, people running and jumping and climbing to get to their corral. I was in 18, which was mixed with people from 17-20 all in the wrong corral. Suddenly we were off.

The beginning is downhill, a hard downhill, toe slamming with packs of people to keep you from really working the hill. By mile 3, I was hot and sweating. I thought then I might not make 3:38. My first mile was 40 seconds off; with all the people there was nowhere to go. My 5k was an average pace of 8:26, only 7 seconds off. Before I talk about my graduating slowing of pace I want to talk about the spectators. There are thousands and thousands the whole way. The course is packed with people to a frightening degree. Barricades try to hold them back but they push onto the course with extreme exuberance. It freaked me out. I tried to run in the middle. At one point another runner, both of us seeming to feel the same fear were trying to get away from the spectators. The road narrowed to one lane as the barricades were being pushed into the street by so many people. People hung over them, screaming and wanted to slap the runners. The children were handing out oranges and sponges. The sponges were very welcome but all the dropped orange peels were a recipe for disaster. In NY crews rake up the drink cups non-stop, it seems that no cleaning up or raking was happening in Boston, the streets were a carpet of paper cups. But you have to laugh at the folks grilling meat and standing on the sidelines handing out shrimp and steak to the runners, but nothing beats the 10-mile cake.

By mile 18 I did not want to see another spectator. I needed to block them out. Now I was tired, sunburn, and had chafed underarms. I waited the whole race to tackle the Newton chain of hills; I went over heartbreak without even knowing what it was. But that was because the whole course is hilly, the Newtown hills did not seem to be an exceptionally bad point, the whole race is up and town so it is just another chain of killer hills. My legs were already really beaten up. I was more freaked out by the people, they began to suck my energy, then sponge bob was suddenly running with me the next 3 miles and I was ready to kill him and everyone one screaming “sponge bob.” I saw Lisa at mile 17, a welcome site, and handed her my arm warmers and pacing bracelets, which I had carried for 15 miles, it was so hot I needed them off my arms. At mile 20 it was carnage. People were falling to the sidelines crying. One woman was stumbling and falling side to side as if on a seriously bad drug and alcohol trip. We were trying to run around her, the E.M.T.’s who were excellent, had not gotten to her yet. I am sure she had no idea where she was. One women was walking and a random spectator jumped the railing and run up to her screaming at her head, RUN, RUN, RUN, You gotta run, as if he was a drill sergeant. The Boston fans were like no other running fans, it was if if they were watching a Red Sox vs. Yankees game. At mile 25 Audra ran out, I gathered energy from her that was great. She said to me, “run the rest hard.” My watch read 3:42:48. I had 8 minutes to get to the finish to get under 3:50 a qualifying time if I ever want to do this again. I mustered up everything I had. I ran hard, drawing from my sprint drills and crossed the line at 3:50:54, I thought. It was not my official time. I crossed the finished line, a big painted road and stopped to a walk then saw the timing mats to follow. My official time was 3:51:01, two seconds over qualifying time. I wobbled, and then started the walk though the chutes. The chutes are a whole page in itself. This was perhaps the worst part of the race. No, the chutes and the huge extended families crowding the runners chutes was indeed the worst part of the marathon experience.

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Hilary before 2008 NYRR Run as One 4 miler

It is Wednesday April 16, 5 days until the Boston Marathon. I am a ready to get it over with. I would prefer feeling like I am really excited to go to Boston and race, but I am nervous and tired. It seems that I went right from running the New York Marathon in November to training for Boston without a break. I had a few weeks without speed work when I was on the Cape, but then I was running extra hills and in the sand. My weeks have consisted of 6 days of running, with two of those days either speed or hill training, plus two days of strength training in the gym with a PT, weekly chiropractic visit, and one or maybe two massages. My legs are loose, strong, and at the moment pain free but I worry about hamstring flare-ups. I worry about going out too fast. The wonderful benefit of living in NY is that I had the chance to run the course three weeks prior to the marathon. I have no idea what it will be like running Boston. Everyone has a different story.

Last Sunday I ran a 4-mile race. Most of my teammates who are running Boston did not do the race. I am sure they were smart to save their legs, but for me it was to earn points for the team and it was a good confidence booster. I had 12 to run anyway so why not make 4 of those a race. I pushed hard the whole way; I took off an astonishing 1:20 from my PB 4-mile race in September. All the late winter speed work does make a difference.

While I update this page I am doing my laundry and laying out my clothes, athletic tape, rubber ball to loosen tight muscles, foam roller, and gels. Oh wait, I am out of gels so I will have one more stop at the store. I am driving up on Saturday with my friend and teammate Audra. We are very excited to watch the women’s Olympic trials on Sunday morning. We watched the men’s in New York and seeing Ryan Hall’s finish was fantastic, man what a runner he is!

Sometimes I think how ridiculous this is. I have been training for 4-5 months, running up to 60 miles a week, easily doing 23 miles runs, why do I get so nerved up I cannot even communicate to my friends or partner. At times I wish I could just go out there and run it, have fun as they say. But I want to run it in a certain time, I want to be 5% faster than last time, I want this to lead to an even faster time in the fall. The distance is not the problem; it is keeping the speed that I want to run for the distance. It is not wanting to feel disappointed by putting in so much work for just a few hours of running on one particular day. Perhaps that is the source of the real stress, 4 months of work, for one three and a half hour run and if it does not go as well as one plans, it is a longer run. And certainly the longer one runs, the more painful it can become. So I sit at home focusing my energy, petting my dog, and watching running movies, or rereading my many running books for some last minute inspiration. Oh I will be so happy Monday, I just want to get started so my brain will quiet down, or perhaps branch out. Whatever it is, I am truly thrilled to be running the Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon and one of the most prestigious road racing events. And finally I have to mention Blossom, a great teammate, runner and supporter who dubbed herself the very ingenious title of “The Original Hilraiser.” Now if that is not supportive I don’t know what it. I will ready to go and wearing number 18686.

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Tasmanian Devil

You may notice that my tag line, “Art, Athletics, and Life from a winter C-scape Beach Shack” has changed to “Art, Athletics, and Life from a winter Tasmanian Rangers Hut.” That’s right, I am thrilled to say I have been selected for one of two 2008 International Natural and Cultural Residencies from Arts Tasmania. I leave the end of May for my 30 + hour flight to Melbourne then Hobart where I will take a bus to Lake St. Clair,  and spend 6 weeks living alone and working from nature. I have a great number of plans including hiking the 6 day Overland Track,  that I will share with you later. I will spend an additional 3-4 weeks exploring the island.

In the meantime, it is April 1 and all my attention is on the Boston Marathon in 20 days. I feel like all I have been doing is running and thinking about running. After my last long run, 23 miles, on Saturday, I am now in my official taper mode. After that I can bring my attention back to my exhibition still going on at Pfizer and working on a new edition of prints in my studio.

I decided to keep updating my blog in preparation for my trip, so you will be hearing from me on a regular basis now. I will keep you updated on running, new artworks, trip preparations, and daily happenings in NYC. Once I get to Australia, one of my sponsors Galaxy 1 will keep me in communication with the loan of a satellite terminal. the big difference on this trip vs. the 6 winter weeks on Cape Cod is I will have electricity. So no more dead batteries!

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