Archive for September, 2011

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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When people get ready to go see a performance they look in the closet to see which black shirt they will wear. Is it formal, maybe the button shirt? Is it casual, perhaps the organic cotton t-shirt? But I was reaching into my closet wondering trail shoes or road running shoes. Sounds more like I was going running right? Well, kind of, but not really.

I was getting dresses to go see, ENDURE:  A RUN WOMAN SHOW that begins at Brooklyn’s Old Stone House in Park Slope but takes place in Prospect Park. Before I go any further I must tell you, everyone who has ever run a race, everyone who is running a fall marathon and everyone who has ever even thought about running a race or a marathon or is in any way interested in running or dynamic theater has got to go see ENDURE.

 To began I was at Brooklyn’s Old Stone House getting my entry number. Each ticket is a clever race number that you pin on your shirt. Your race captains hand you a cued up I-pod to hang around your neck. It is playing an original score composed by Sweden-based singer-songwriter Christine Owman. The beats of it made me want to jump around and start running. It was relaxing yet engaging at the same time. I really don’t have language to describe music so I will say it was really cool.

 We start walking along 3rd Street toward Prospect Park, springing along to the music behind out race leader, Producer Suchan Vodoor.  Each time we saw a person walk or jog by we’d think, “Is this is? Are they an actor?” We walked into the park paying close attention to what is happening around us. We stop. A voice comes on. It is Melanie Jones, Canadian writer and performer of ENDURE. She is talking about racing, about lining up. We see a beautiful woman, a runner not too far from us. There is a countdown, 5,4,3,2,1 we are off. We are asked to run to the end of the trail. We see the beautiful runner dash behind some bushes, we want to chase her, to see who she is, where she is going.

 As we follow we are lend through the woods, down pathways, over trigs and down hills. But don’t worry if you are not a runner, walking is also very much encouraged and anyone can participate.

 Melanie physically leads us as we listen to her thoughts on the I-pod. Those thoughts that every runner has, excitement, self-doubt, pain, but what makes this really special is that she shares all those things we don’t talk about. Like “hey perfect little pony tail, perfect running, I am going to bury you.” Well not exactly those words but words to that affect, words that a “nice person” may not say but deep inside we are not nice, we are there to conquer, picking our nemesis and attacking!  We are taken on a ride, a run, that moves up and down from depression to exuberance, from being the weirdo to being the coveted, from being a non-runner to a marathoner. Quoting from her press release:

 ENDURE is inspired by Melanie Jones experience – training for and completing her first marathon.  “During a long run or a race, every human emotion comes up at one point or another:  rage, bliss, boredom, despair, peace,” remarks Jones. “That, to me, was incredibly rich dramatic ground to draw from…” Admittedly, when she first began her training, the prospect of running 26.2 miles nearly killed her.  But eventually, she learned that simply putting one foot in front of the other could save her life.

 This is theater in a whole new form. The audience becomes part of the piece; it goes far beyond “audience participation.” The more willing you are to interact the more you get from the show. For a runner you get pulled in every direction of the marathon distance and the months of training  leading up to it. You get a lot of surprises, especially because it is set in Prospect Park. A scene that takes place on a park bench may now be occupied by an old man feeding squirrels or near the  finish line a bride or a perhaps piñata will be waiting for you.

Here is a short clip:

 I have been thinking about this show every day since seeing it. I recall it on my long run. I recall it doing my repeats on the track. The show is themed around the marathon but it is about a whole process of evolution, the changes we go through and adaptations along the way. Melanie  takes us up and down and around, emotionally and physically unfolding the narrative in a powerful way. You will not get any better marathon motivation than you get from attending ENDURE.


 Collision Productions, Inc., founded in 2010 by Kym Bernasky and Melanie Jones, is a dynamic artistic partnership focused on the creation and development of innovative new work by crossing artistic disciplines. Collision craves (and creates) environments, works of art, and experiences that are transformative, uplifting, life-affirming…and magical.

September 24 through October 23
Saturdays and Sundays – 10AM & 3PM
Old Stone House, Park Slope Brooklyn
Tickets $25
(Ticket Office on 3rd Street at corner of 4th and 5th Aves.)
Run Time:  70 Minutes

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5th Avenue Mile

Saturday was NYRR 5th Avenue mile and it was the first time I ran it. I have not run a mile race in over 25 or so years. In other words not since I was a kid. My friend and neighbor David and I wrote our bikes to the start. The start is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The race has been around since 1981. According to NYRR history, “In the inaugural Fifth Avenue Mile on New York City’s famed thoroughfare, Sydney Maree defeats a stunning field, including Steve Scott, John Walker, Steve Cram, and runner-up Mike Boit by two seconds in 3:47.52, still the fastest time in history of the event. ”

But today I was out there to see how fast I could run a mile without any short distance training. This fall has been all about the marathon, making my shortest runs 3 miles. There was a little bit of sprinting in the form of 200 meter steep hill sprints. Two days before the mile I ran 9 miles + 5 x 200 meters steep hills, but nothing on the track. Before I went to bed I somewhat randomly visualized (yes I know it sounds hokey) 6:20. I felt that it was respectable enough.

The race is  run in heats by age and gender along 5th avenue of course.  I did not run until 10:45 with the women 40-49. There were 327 of us in the corral. I stood about 10 deep because I assumed most would be running in low 5:00’s and I did not want to get in the way. That was my first mistake. As more and more people piled in I got further and further back. Mary Wittenberg President of NYRR and a super fast runner came to the microphone to say “this would be her last 5th avenue mile in the 40-49 group and while she is not in shape she still will  run with us.” We all cheered and I noticed her placement, 3 in front of me. I often see Mary in races, I try to set my eyes on her and keep up. When I beat her I feel like it is a mark of achievement, that I am a decent runner.

The gun goes off. I charge ahead having to elbow my way through. Get out of my way purple tiger stripes, I want to run fast. I see Mary, I pull up behind her shoulder and everything goes into slow motion. Gosh, maybe she was telling the truth, she is going slow. I’m taking off. I am running painlessly, not even feeling my heart beat, not even breathing hard. I see the race truck clock in front of me, I see girls with perfect bodies and beautiful form, “I can’t possibly be running with them, can I?” “Oh crap maybe I am fooling myself and I will blow up.” Oh god, I am half way done. Okay here is the deal, “if you let me run faster than 6:20 I don’t have to run the NYC marathon.” I make these stupid crazy deals with myself all the time.

I am 3/4th done, I clearly see the finish line but I am afraid to go faster. Can I go faster? Would I puke? Would it hurt? Am I ready? How long is a mile anyway? I start passing a ton of people. Well not really a ton, there are not that many people in front of me. Then Mary Wittenberg  dusts me, stupid Hilary, you should have stayed with her.  It was as if I was standing still. Can I catch her? I pick off people one by one. I am gitty. I am running with ease right by them. Maybe I should have run faster?  In the last 100 meters,  the girls with the stork like legs come galloping in on me, “stay back stork legs this one is mine.” Knowing that I was deep in the field at the start if we crossed at the same time, chip timing will give me the win. Score, over the line 6:16. It’s done our photo finish is taken. Man, that was fun. Can I do it again? I can run it faster, give me 15 minutes and let me run in with the 60-69 group. I could have come in the top 3 then. People here are fast and there is no age limit to that. In the city of fast runners  at 81, Marjorie Kagan  runs a 10:11 and  96 year old Robert Matteson  running a 17:18. The 46-49 year old women out performed the 40-45. The spread for the top 10 for 40-45 was #1 Jill Vollweiler 5:29,  #10 Michelle Mason 6:14. The spread for the top 10 for 46-49 #1 Annie Bunting 5:24 – #10 Julie Litoff 6:02. My 6:16 earned me the 15th stop right behind Mary Wittenberg’s 14th. She beat me by 5 seconds though. In the 50 women’s group the winner was Yumi Ogita with a 5:18, faster yet than almost all the runners under 34.

I loved this run and I loved the exchange that happens between runners. It is a much different feeling that longer races, more strategic, more intimate, just very different and so much more enjoyable. This morning I have two of my running boyfriends coming with me for a 20 mile run. Both are running 10 miles but I could not  coordinate them to have one run with me the first half and one the second half. Next year…….I will train for the mile, skip the marathon. Now that sounds like some new fun!



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A quick 4 pound gain

To follow up from my misery yesterday. I ate and drank very little last night because my belly just couldn’t take it. When I woke up I was another pound lighter but 1% more hydrated. The liquid I had must have settled in. So in 30 hours I went from 118 and 56% hydrated to 114 and 53%. I walked the dogs for an hour feeling kind of dizzy. By the time I got to work I was having out of body experiences. It was not helped by my computer blowing up – totally dead-no back up, and my completely inept secretary unable to see or hear me. That is a whole other chapter that will not be opened. So I got two liters of pedialyte. Man, that stuff tastes terrible. Between 8am and 1pm I drank both. It was impossible to drink them any faster. When I got home at 3 I was 118 pounds and 57.6% hydrated. (FYI 60% is the max).

I still don’t feel much like eating and I have a refrigerator overflowing with beautiful green produce. I could eat a pint of ice cream though…..No running today, rest, maybe rest tomorrow or jump in the pool. I ache all over but I can tell I am going to feel great tomorrow.

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Crappy Ass Run

Before I tell you about my crappy ass run, I have some  good ones to share.  Patrick and I ran a 7 mile tempo over the Manhattan and Bridges keeping the same intensity and close to the same pace the whole way. I have also been doing some 30 minute x 2 a day which are just fun. Mostly it is commuting to work. Besides my marathon training I am doing 50 runs in 50 days challenge with my friend Gabe. If you miss a day you can make it up doing 2 a day. So I take a rest day, then commute to work and it is made up. Most of my runs have been about 8 miles, with some hills, and track work. But not bad.

Okay, today. I was super excited to get an email that the Van Cortland Track Club was running a 20 mile trail run. I put together my drinks, snacks, post workout chocolate milk and 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich. I ate well the day before, went to bed early and planned on a sweet run. But I tossed and turned all night. I have been sleeping so poorly since coming back from NM I can hardly stand it. I lost my tolerance for all the noise. At 7:30am I picked up a Front Runner new friend, Cesar on my way to the Bronx. I was excited to wear my NB Minimus once again. I have not worn them since NM because they are strictly for trails.  I cannot tolerate wearing them on cement.

There were 7 in our group. The person out in front was a 15-year-old cross-country runner who looked spectacular. We hit the trails, similar to the Holiday Marathon route and everything was going swimmingly at a 9:45 warm up pace. My plan called for:

” Start off at about 9:47 per mile and gradually accelerate to 8:57 per mile by the end of Mile 9. For miles 10-11, stay in marathon goal pace range at 8:32 per mile. You can back off to 9:47 for the next mile, and then run miles 13-14 at 8:18 per mile. Trust yourself on this segment and start imagining First Avenue. Run the next mile in about 9:47 mile, and then find a comfortable pace in your Long Run training range (8:57-9:47 per mile) at which to finish the 17 mile run.

We had a support car meeting us every 5 miles which was awesome! I didn’t need to carry water. Near mile 5 I tripped and fell,  rolled in the dirt, banging my left knee, hip and hand. I am glad I rolled. At first I tried to stop myself and that was no good, I just ground my hand into the rocks. At 5.5 our car was there. I was super happy to get some Gaterade.We were averaging 9:30’s by then. But I couldn’t quite imagine the 8:30’s let alone with 8:18’s! Mile 5-10 took a turn for the worse. The trail was all asphalt and cement. With my minimus on it was essentially like running barefoot and my feet cannot take that. I felt every step on the ball of my foot. I started getting really worried. It was quicker running the cement than the trail, but that didn’t really matter.  After mile 10 it was all cement sidewalks. I wanted to cry. I couldn’t do it and knew I would drop out at 15. I could get a ride back to the park and finish my run there. As Cesar pranced around as if he was at the disco, I began letting out a few choice words. I wanted to stop and walk before I killed my feet.

At mile 13.5 the support car was there. Oh relief. As we ran up, they had cups of water on the ground but when I stopped running my rip cage/diaphragm tightened up and I was seeing stars. Oh crap, if I bend over to take that cup I will pass out. I have never had this happen before. One of the guys handed me water and I told them to go ahead I would meet them in the park. Oh boy getting back to the dirt I was too happy to let the feelings of total inadequate loser take over, there was certainly was a glimmer of that though.  And the big question is, “what has happened to my running?” I got back to VC, changed into padded shoes and hit the cross-country course. I was happy. I was all  alone in the hills of the park. I completely missed my time goals, in the end my time averaged 10 minute miles which is not hideous with the long hills and trails, but disappointing never the less.  I looked back over my training and I have never run so slow, unless I was pacing something and running their time. My normal times for 20 miles runs are a range from 8:45 – 9:15. When I finished I could not find Cesar anywhere. I stretched, ate my sandwich, changed my clothes, but still no Cesar. I was cold and tired. I went to sleep in the car and finally he showed up. He could not find me earlier so he had lunch with all the VC folks. I was cranky and wanted to get home.

I got home to find the dogs had opened, and ate most of, a container of oatmeal. What they didn’t eat they ground  into the sofa.  They opened my work bag and took out a pound of sunflower seeds and spread them around on the rug.I’m tired, I’m sore, I’m pissed and my house is filthy.

And finally just for kicks I weighed myself so I could feel even worse. I could see my swollen belly. I had already ate, drank almost a liter of Acceleratade,  8 oz of chocolate milk, a bit of coffee. It was not hot today, only about 58 degrees so I had no sweat. I have one of these cool Ironman scales, it tells me my weight, body fat, and hydration. I though maybe I turned into a fat pig over night and that is why my run was so bad, but it was the opposite. I weighed 115, yesterday I weighed 118. My hydration dropped from the almost constant 56%  to 53%. I have no memory of it being this low, and especially now after I drank so much in the last hour and a half. I would like to weigh 115, even 112, but with muscle and bones and water,  not from severe dehydration. So no sleep and no water? I am going to use that as the excuse of  my poor run, because if they all feel like this, I am not running NYC. I have a 19 miler next weekend. I am going to run it on the roads with my cushion shoes and see where that takes me.

For now it is water drinking then nap time.

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Running weekend with bad form photos

This was a great weekend for running. I helped my friend Les do her 16 mile run on Friday. It was slower than my normal pace  so I got the bonus running time. Saturday was the Front Runner Cross Country Meet which was a lot of fun. I ran the slowest 5k CC  in my life, but I put in a solid effort run on this nasty humid day. I followed the run up with an easy 30 minutes  at night.
Sunday I met my Front Runner buddies for the 5 bridges run. It was a really cool overcast day.  Some folks bailed since it was 9/11 and we chose to run the bridges. I met the group 7 miles into the 16-18 mile run at the Williamsburg Bridge, we ran downtown to the Manhattan Bridge, crossed into Brooklyn, and came back over the Brooklyn Bridge and ran to midtown. I missed the Queenborough and Pulaski bridges. I ran my friends back to the start then ran myself  downtown for a total of 12 miles the last 2.5 miles on the track at 8:00 pace.

I got a few more pics from the Labor Day Marathon and strung them together. Don’t do this while running:

Now I know where my dog get it from;the turning all around and checking stuff out. The reality was I saw my friend RayK on the right but it looks like I made a decision to turn around.

My next set of photos are toward the finish and I have a serious questions which is, “How the heck can I get better at picking up my feet?” Every time I see myself bent over with both hands in front of me, (pic 2 from the left) I think of Jeff Goldbloom doing his shaving cream dance  as an alien in “Earth Girls are Easy.” If you ever saw it you know what I mean.   I want to learn to get good carry through of my foot but I seem to barely pick them up. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

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Off Topic – Contract Negotiations

What if the Board of Directors of your company came to you and said. “You know what we just don’t have any money right now.” You might say, “well these are tough times and I understand, I don’t need a raise and in fact I will help you lower our healthcare costs. I will research all the companies and get us a good deal.”

A couple months go by and you receive an awesome health care offer that would save the company over $4 million dollars! You feel pretty proud. You go to the board and tell them. (all the while thinking, “Isn’t this their job to do? I was hired to teach”) They think that is great, they buy into the system. It should save money for everyone right, since you pay 15% of your premium, you might even pay less? Well no, now the company wants you to pay 21% of your premium and offer you a lower coverage tiered system.

It’s bad, but you want to keep your job, not go on strike and well frankly you are used to being kicked in the head. But then your boss says, you are not getting a raise for 5 years. Huh, 5 years? That’s crazy! Increase health insurance and no raise for 5 years?

Now it looks a bit ugly. But here is the real kicker. At the 11th hour of contract negotiations the offer is increased. You would be offered a 2.5% “bonus”  (2.5% of salary or around $1400-$1900 for people with 10+ years at the company) based on revenue streams for the year. The bonus would be paid over 12 months. It would not be added to base pay, therefore it does not help retirement or build your base salary. That looks even worse. Then in years 3, 4, and 5 the “bonus” would drop to 2% unless revenue went up substantially and if it really went up, you might get as high as a  4% “bonus.” Gee thanks!

What do you suppose this person’s job is? A sales person obviously. No, an academic.  A University Professor.  Long Island University’s Board of Director’s wants to tie in “bonus” wages to sales of credit hours instead of giving any raises. To top it off, it is the combined revenue of two different campuses, one in Brooklyn and one on Long Island. Completely different staff operates the two universities; C.W.Post looses money annually and it has a different union for their staff and faculty. We have completely separate contracts.

But let’s look at all the ways the university can create revenue anyway. Johnny applies to LIU for college despite a 3rd grade reading level and 1st grade math level. Admit him! Revenue. Suzy goes to her adviser. Suzy wants to take 12 credit hours because she knows that is all she can handle. But Suzy’s adviser convinces here to take 18 telling her “she can handle it.” Suzy signs ups, is quickly overwhelmed, drops out but, but guess what? We got her money! Revenue. Oh but wait, we want more of Suzy’s money so perhaps we can just pass her even though she never came to class. This will entice her to return and spend more money. Revenue. The contract is not only unfair to faculty it is unfair to students, and that is a huge concern. Can you have a university without faculty? Well if it were possible, LIU would figure out a way to do it. Want numbers? check out liuff.org

Should we just suck it up, take the pay reduction and be happy we have jobs? I would love to hear comments.

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In My Little World

Here is a funny pic taken by Front Runner Tom Henning at today’s Labor Day Marathon in the Bronx. Despite my whining about not being able to run, certainly by the pic I am having fun, apparently in my own little world. And a second pic  closer to the end with a lot sweatier and slightly more  concentrated look.


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I feel better after counting the number of days I have been back in NYC, 16, because I am having long run trouble and anxiety.  The marathon is 10 weeks away and I have not done a long run, only medium 13 miles. This weekend I was to run 14, but it was so hot yesterday I postponed it to do today at the Labor Day Marathon. I quit after 7 miles along with a lot of other people.
I woke up with a bruise on the top of the foot at the base of my 2nd and 3rd toe. My foot  has hurt since last week when I rode my bike with thin soled shoes over clipless petals, I could not find my bike shoes. I am also going from trail running in the dry desert to asphalt running in the humidity. It’s killing me and I just don’t feel the urge to fight it. I am laying  low, icing my foot for the rest of the day.
The good news is my track workouts are awesome, a piece of cake really. The more I am running the more I believed I worked my anaerobic system hard but not my aerobic. It makes sense knowing how I stressed my body in  New Mexico. So what does that mean for the NYC marathon? Well I’ll see. I do not want any more broken bones and  I am not going to run if I think it is going to take 4 hours, I see no sense in that either. Not to knock people who run over 4 hours, I just don’t want to put my body in that kind of stress for running for so long. I still have time to see what happens, but my enthusiasm is not where it should be. I need some long run buddies.

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