Archive for October, 2011

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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