Tag: Running

Brooklyn Half Marathon 2015

Brooklyn Half Marathon 2015

This was my third Brooklyn Half and sixth half marathon in total. Last year, I began training too early and had lost a lot of my momentum by the month of the race. That was the first year I attempted actually training. I had a goal time and everything. I didn’t meet it. And I didn’t have a good race. I ran almost-PR’s for all my splits then completely gave up at Mile 10. I had nothing left. And walked most of the last three miles. I was miserable. It wasn’t even my worst time. But it was my worst experience.

For this year, I decided to go back to my training plan of Fuck It. This entails no consistent running schedule whatsoever. Some haphazard “long runs.” Zero pressure. It’s worked in the past so I actually had high hopes. Well, I was three-minutes slower this year than last year. But my overall experience was far better.

Last year, I did not run to the best of my ability. I gave in to my mental weaknesses. This year, I know I could not have ran that race any better. Unless I actually trained, of course. Going in with what I had, I never stopped when I didn’t need to. I never let myself get discouraged. And I really dug deep while struggling and continued when I didn’t want to. That felt good.

So my preparation for the 2015 BK Half included 17 total runs between January & May, the longest being 5-miles. I am not encouraging this. Especially if you are new new to running.


Training for the Mental Race

This year wasn’t about physical training. I already know how to deal with cramps, blisters, pacing, hydration, and dry-wicking material. Last year I let negative thoughts get the best of me and I did not want that to happen this year.

This year, I trained my brain to not sabotage me during the run. I actually wish I had done this in previous races because it helped more than anything else I’ve ever tried. It took a strategy. I came up with a plan of attack for when my doubts and worries come up in the late part of the race. I chose three ideas that could occupy my time and took some thinking.

The first idea I prepared was a current artsy project I’ve started working on for fun. It consists of multiple pages. So I broke down each page in my head. I thought about font, colors, layout, spacing, etc. The minute details were time-consuming to think about and a great distraction. The second idea was working through one of my NaNoWriMo stories. I thought about character development, plot points, sense, and the fictional world. This was another successful distraction because I really could get lost in the story world.

When I began to think Why am I doing this? I don’t even like running, I quickly told my brain “Stop!” Then paused for a second to bring back up what I was last thinking about in the project or story. “Okay, but what about the main character’s sister? Where does she fall in place.” By asking myself questions, it kept up a good distraction from negative thoughts. Or just thoughts about the physical pain I was in.


BK Half Recap

It was a cloudy Saturday. There were fears it was going to rain. It did, later on. Before the race even started, I had to stand in a 25-minute security line. Not a baggage check security line. Just a metal detector security line. … Even at this part I practiced my distraction exercises. I get so upset at ostentatious security. I often exert a lot of energy getting mad at people before a race starts. I didn’t want to make myself so upset this time. So while standing in this mandatory line for the most absurd reasons, I thought about my story to keep myself calm.

The rain held off until the race started (Wave 2). Within the first mile we could start to feel rain drops. Then it really started down pouring. We weren’t even in the park yet and it was raining hard. I’ve ran in the rain before but never during a half. I was prepared with a hat and dry-wicking everything. But it was pretty miserable. My hair was sticking to me. My clothes felt gross. My socks were now wet. There was mud and road gunk everywhere. Just kind of gross.

On the plus-side, the clouds remained the whole time. The run down Ocean Parkway is so boring. It’s flat. There aren’t too many spectators. There’s not much scenery. Since you’re on a highway, there is no shade, so this part is the worst when the sun is out. I was very grateful that it remained cloudy for the entire race.

I stretched a few times, for the first time during a half. I planned it out at certain mile markers and I really think it helped. Although my pace is slow, I only stopped to drink water and stretch. I was running the rest of the time. After the race, I felt fairly good and just had a normal Saturday.


To be honest here, the Great Saunter felt like more of a challenge and struggle than any Half Marthon I’ve ran. Two and a half hours is a joke compared to a 12-hour activity that actually takes up your entire day.

Summer Updates: Loss + Babies + Hedwig + Veruca Salt

Summer Updates: Loss + Babies + Hedwig + Veruca Salt

beautiful wyoming

Life: The Circle of Life

This has been quite an emotional summer for me. In the course of the past three months, I went through a break-up, a loss of a parent, and a birth of a new niece. That is a lot of life cycles starting and ending. I am grateful for life throwing me some happy in with the sad. And I am extremely grateful for all the supportive people that surround me. It has been difficult and risky at times to form strong friendships. But it is absolutely worth it. Even the times that failed, I am still glad that I took the risk.

The break-up is painful because everything reminds of me of the person. Places around the city, my apartment, etc. I’ve had to put a lot of effort into adjusting my routine. Which wasn’t easy but I’m pretty happy with the new structure I have. Hopefully I can keep up this momentum.

The loss of my dad is painful in a different way. I didn’t see him every day so the pain feels less intense. But, when I am reminded of him, it comes hard and fast. I ran a 5K last week and was doing pretty well for the first mile. Then I had the thought, “I can tell dad that I ran near the Verrazano Bridge, he’d get a kick out of that.” And then I remembered I couldn’t. I could never call my dad after a race again. That was hard. And that will continually be hard. I just have to let myself have those moments.

Then to everyone’s surprise, my grand-niece was born four weeks early. Thankfully everyone was healthy. And while I’m not much of a baby person, holding her definitely put a smile on my face. I’m looking forward to being a real part of her life as she grows up.


NYCRuns races in Brooklyn

Running: Summer Races

Oh man has this been the summer of running. And I don’t even enjoy running in the summer, or after work. But with the pushing of a friend, I signed up for a Summer Series in Prospect Park starting at the end of May through all of August. All eight races cost only $25 total. What a deal. The last race of the series was just this past week. Of the 8 races total, I ran 6 of them. Plus, I ran two other 5K’s and a 10K as part of a different summer series in Bay Ridge.

I originally wanted to PR this summer but since my August was emotionally crazy, I just knew it wasn’t going to happen. Most of these I just ran as I would normally.

  • 5/21: 0:42:25 – Ran with a friend
  • 6/4: 0:33:39 – Prospect Park
  • 6/18: 0:36:55 – Started downpouring after mile 2
  • 6/29: 0:32:44 – 4m running, 1m walking on the Coney Island Boardwalk
  • 7/2: 0:34:26 – Prospect Park
  • 7/13: 1:14:45 – 10K in Bay Ridge, I changed my socks at one point
  • 7/30: 0:31:12 – My best of the summer, not sure how it happened
  • 8/25: 0:32:48 – Flat course in Bay Ridge but spent half of it crying, then wheezing
  • 8/27: 0:35:20 – Calf pain, limped/shuffled most of it

veruca salt at music hall of williamsburg

Music: Veruca Salt and Braid

Last month, in the same weekend, I saw Veruca Salt and Braid both perform (separately) at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. It was a shame that I had to see them back-to-back like that because both shows were so different.

I bought the ticket to the sold-out Veruca Salt show last-minute. I found it for sale on the app YPlan and wasn’t sure I actually wanted to go. I am so glad I went because it was one of the best shows I’ve seen. Normally reunion shows are hit or miss, but the band was on top of their game. To hear these songs live was pretty amazing. Songs that I looooved at one point in my life. Definitely worth it. Plus, the energy of the crowd was also pretty riveting. I don’t usually like that kind of thing but it really was exciting.

The Braid show was also great, but in a different way. It was the fifth time I’ve seen them live so not as exciting for me in that way. But I did get to hear them perform new songs, so that was neat. The show was not sold out and the energy was very different. It’s not to say that the new album is bad, but people don’t know it as well. There wasn’t that kind of high-energy sing-a-long that some of their past shows have had. With all that said, it was still fantastic and I’ll continue to see them when they’re in town.


Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway in NYC

Theater: Hedwig And the Angry Inch

Also last month, I finally went to see the Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Only seeing the movie before, the Broadway show totally blew me away. As soon as I walked out of the theater, I wanted to turn around and buy another ticket for the next show. It was absolutely incredible! Definitely one of the best shows I’ve seen on Broadway. Witty, talented, musically fun, great production. All of that. The song Origin of Love is one of my favorites and to hear that live was an incredible experience.

If I am able to treat myself again while it is still running, I will definitely go see it again. I had front row balcony, but it was still kind of difficult to see some of the stage happenings. I would splurge for orchestra next time.


Internet Best Of: Links

Personal Finance
Why I am teaching my kids about money by not giving them any to begin with – Save Spend Splurge

http://brokegirlrich.com/?p=1137 – Broke Girl Rich

June Review & July Goals – Budget and the Beach

Half Year Budget – An Exacting Life

Tales from a College Dropout – Freedom Thirty Five

Books
Books of the Century – NYPL

25 Books to Read Before You Die – Powell’s

Personalized Book Recommendation List – Brooklyn Public Library

Weekly Updates: Rock-Rock-Rock Rockaway Beach

Weekly Updates: Rock-Rock-Rock Rockaway Beach

Life: Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Taco Some of the most delicious tacos in all of nyc
Some of the most delicious tacos in all of nyc

It’s not far not hard to reach, we can catch a ride to rockaway beach!

I love the beach. And the ocean. And being outside. And the sand. And everything about the beach so I love the Rockaways. Coney Island is closer. But I want to see the ocean! We live on an island after all.

It’s a 1.5 hour train ride (or 1hr bus ride) for me to get out to Queens. And it’s totally worth it. First I eat tacos. Then I layout my blanket & towel, snack on some goldfish, and relax while listening to the ocean.

Everything about going to the beach is wonderful for me. That’s why I plan to go every weekend that the weather is nice. It just never gets old.

Jacob Riis Park at the Rockaways in Queens, NY
Jacob Riis Park at the Rockaways in Queens, NY

There has been much improvement of the Rockaways since last year. Although there are still plenty of signs of damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. I’m doubt it will ever be the way it was pre-hurricane. The area is definitely getting more built-up with summer restaurants & bars. In a good way of course, but I did like the low-keyness of it.

Jacob Riis on the other hand looks pretty good. Compared to the public part of the beach, it is a little cleaner. And less rocky. Unfortunately, it is also far from Rockaway Taco.

If you live in the city and still haven’t been out to the Rockaways, get a move on it! The beach is too good to pass up!


Running: Summer Series 5K

Lovely Prospect Park in Brooklyn
Lovely Prospect Park in Brooklyn

Running in the summer here is simply not fun. I need to motivate myself twice as much in the summer than in the winter. The humidity kills me. Sweating like a pig is gross. I can’t even come home to my apartment and cool off. So I’ll do anything possible to stay motivated in the hot months. And that’s why I signed up for a Summer Series of 5K’s.

The series spans from the end of May through the end of August. There’s only been three races so far and already two were during miserable bouts of high humidity. The races take place after work at 7p, but that’s just not late enough for the temperature to really cool off.

The first race I ran with my friend. The second race I ran trying out the Galloway method; running for 4 mins, walking for 1 min. The third race I focused on not wheezing from the crazy humidity. Here are the results so far:

#1: 0:42:25 (13:41 min/mi)
#2: 0:33:39 (10:50 min/mi)
#3: 0:36:55 (11:53 min/mi)

I know these are fast by any means. But keeping slow times secret doesn’t actually help anyone. My focus right now is just staying motivated; time doesn’t really matter


Travel: Overnight to Washington, DC

Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool - Washington, DC
Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool – Washington, DC

I’m not much of a travel deals person. I don’t travel often and when I do, I just want to relax and be comfortable. I don’t mind saving a buck at home. But I don’t want to think about it as much on vacation. Fortunately a short vacation to Washington, D.C. is pretty affordable.

The trip was only Mon to Tuesday, so one night at a hotel. Honestly, I didn’t really look for hotel deals. I knew I didn’t want to go over $200 but that was an easy limit to stay under. I travel so rarely that I don’t mind splurging a little bit. Especially since the museums are free so my only other cost there would be food.

Purchasing Bolt bus tickets a few days beforehand worked out just fine. Since the trip was over weekdays, the bus tickets were cheaaaap. Going down the ticket was $14. Coming back it was $1! Yay!

The funny thing about living in nyc, is it’s not always as much fun to visit other cities. But if you want to get out to a rural area you have to rent a car. So when looking at DC attractions there’s plenty for a New Yorker to skip over. Most of our art museums are better. Our pizza/food will be better. That made it pretty easy to stick to a short, cheapish trip.

The trip itself was really great! Well, it was boiling hot both days. But besides that, there was plenty of air conditioning, good beer, and informational museums everywhere.

I’ll write a full post next week, including a cost breakdown (exciting, I know).


Books: The Dresden Files

The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher
The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher

After numerous recommendations, I started The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. It’s based around the wizard Harry Dresden. He’s not your average wizard, okay. He’s in the yellow pages.

Dresden is your typical caricature character who always has something happening to him. He is very smart and skilled at wizardry. But can’t pay his bills, feed himself, get a woman, comb his hair, sleep, etc. Everything about him is an absolute mess.

In the first book, Storm Front, everyone is against him. I’ve been told this happens less and less through out the series. I hope so. A plot revolving around proving a character’s innocence is painfully predictable. And boring.

It was suggested I jump to the fourth book to help move things along faster. There are certainly improvements in Summer Knight, over the first book. At least not everyone was out to get Dresden. But it still was a non-stop train of events that I still found boring.

After hearing Dresden whine about how he has no clients and no money; at one point using candles because his lights were shut off, I couldn’t help but wonder why he didn’t get a part time job. You gotta side hustle, Harry. In which book does he create a budget? I’d read that.

Although I did enjoy Summer Knight over Storm Front, that’s not saying much. Here’s what it comes down to. I just don’t like series. Book series. Television series. Maybe I don’t have the attention span for long-winded story arcs.

With that said, I would happily read a one-off book about how much Toot Toot loves pizza.


Music: Braid

After receiving an email from Songkick that Braid will be playing in Brooklyn next month, I decided to snatch up a ticket right away. This was an unplanned purchase. But at $25 definitely does not break the bank.

I’ve loved the band Braid since college. This will be my fourth time seeing the band. Although I have seen Bob Nanna in his other musical projects (Hey Mercedes, City on Film) several times.

Braid may not be a band you’re familiar with, so I made a short playlist highlighting some of their key songs (imo!). The band came out of the Champaign-Urbana scene in the late 90’s. They’re definitely and emo band but, you know, in a good way.

Here’s the Braid choice song playlist via Spotify, enjoy!


Internet: Links

Productivity/Health
Summer Shape Up!/ASICS Shoe Giveaway! – Budget and the Beach

Personal Finance
Spend Money Where It Counts… On Yourself – Mo Money Mo Houses

News/Crazy
Losing Garnett the Great – The Lacey Spears Story – lohud

Recipe
Inside-Out Neapolitan Layer Cake – Sweetapolita