Archive for the ‘Recovery’Category

Chasing the Sub 2 Hour Half Marathon at Heartbreak Hill

Chasing the sub 2 hour half marathon

1:58 is my goal time! (Photo: morgueFile)

In two weeks from today I’ll be at the start of the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half in Newton, Mass. The race will be my third half marathon in 2014, but my first attempt at a sub 2 hour half marathon this year. My current half marathon personal best stands at 2:00:30 from the 2012 Staten Island Half. Breaking “2” is the one running goal that has eluded me time and time again. It has become my Everest.

Chasing the sub 2 hour half marathon

I’ve got “2″ on the brain. (Photo: morgueFile)

Last Long Run

On Saturday, I finished my last long run before the big race. I ran 12.15 miles total, with 10 of them in Central Park’s rolling hills at a 9:40 pace overall. My goal half marathon pace is 9:00, which would bring me in at 1:58. A sub 2 hour half marathon pace is 9:10. I’m absolutely within striking distance.

My splits were:

10:13
9:30
9:35
9:35
10:13
9:31
9:40
9:25
9:37
9:20

I don’t like that I had two 10:13 miles as I climbed one of Central Park’s steepest hills twice during miles one and five. But I like that I was at least consistent over said hill. And I love that my last mile was my fastest.

Race Goals

My goals for the race are:

A) Run a sub 2 hour half marathon
B) Run a personal record, which means besting 2:00:30
C) Run as hard as I can, whatever time that means

Chasing the sub 2 hour half marathon

My “A” goal is a sub 2 hour finish! (Photo: morgueFile)

I know I have the speed in me to finally break 2 hours. I’m much faster than when I set my current half-marathon PR. My long runs have been consistently 30 to 40 seconds faster per mile than they were in fall 2012. And I’ve since lowered my 5K and 10 PRs by two minutes and three minutes, respectively.

But I’m just not sure I have the endurance I’d like to have at this point in the season. Going into the Staten Island Half, my longest run was a 16-miler since I was in the middle of marathon training. Going into this race, my longest run was yesterday’s 12.15-miler, with just 10 of them at speed. The other 2.15 miles were an easy warm-up and cool down. Do I have 13.1 fast miles in me? That remains to be seen. Read the rest of this entry →

How To Run Faster? Run With The Fast Crowd

running races, New York Harriers

The New York Harrier men (inlcuding my fist-pumping husband) are ready to cheer on the Harrier women at the 2011 NYRR Team Championships. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

I stared down the track in front of me. I’d already run a 1600, two 800s and four 400s at an all-out pace. Now just one more 800 stood between me and the end of the workout. I didn’t know how to run faster. But that was the task before me.

“Group 4, you’re up!” my coach yelled.

“Why do we have to run another 800?” someone moaned.

“Because it mentally prepares you to run hard, even when you’re tired,” he said. “All right, this is all-out. This should hurt. Group 4, go!”

I had a cramp in my left foot, a stitch in my right side, and I still hadn’t caught my breath from the last interval. Everything in me wanted to quit.

But I took one look at the rest of the runners in my group, and I thought, “I can do this.”

How to run faster? Run with the fast crowd

(Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Over the years, team speed workouts have become my favorite part of half-marathon and marathon training. There are so many reasons to train with a friend or a team. Camaraderie, accountability and encouragement are some of them. But my favorite reason to show up to team speed workouts is that I like to run with the fast crowd. It’s inspirational, motivational and encourages me to push myself harder than I ever would on my own. Read the rest of this entry →

Lessons From Boston Marathon Winner Meb Keflezighi

Lessons From Boston Marathon Winner Meb Keflezighi

Meb Keflezighi at the 2006 Boston Marathon. (Photo: Ethan Bagley/Flickr)

Back in 2009 when “Run, Karla, Run!” debuted, one of my very first posts was about Meb Keflezighi’s historic win at the New York City Marathon—Keflezighi’s Win: An American Marathon Renaissance?

On April 21, he did it again by becoming the first American Boston Marathon winner in 30 years. Even more amazing? He won at the age of 38 and in personal record time of 2:08:37.

Keflezighi is without question the U.S.’s best distance runner on the roads today. With an Olympic marathon silver medal and New York City and Boston Marathon titles to his name, he enters an elite group of American runners known as “the greatest.” Even Frank Shorter, the 1972 Olympic marathon gold medalist and 1976 Olympic marathon silver medalist, said it during the Boston Marathon wrap-up show on Universal Sports: “If there is a club, welcome to it!”

But we mere mortals can learn a thing or two from Marathon Meb. Here’s what comes to mind.

Lessons From Boston Marathon Winner Meb Keflezighi

Meb Keflezighi at the 2013 New York City Marathon. (Photo: ccho/Flickr)

1) The big 30 isn’t old. Neither, it seems, is 40.

So many people think the end is nigh once your age no longer begins with a “2.” I’m as guilty as the next runner, wringing my hands at what feels like the inevitable decline now that my age starts with a “3.”

So it’s refreshing and inspiring to see a runner like Meb, just two weeks from his 39th birthday, becoming the Boston Marathon winner, running not just the best time of his life, but the best time in a field of younger guys.

Lesson? You’re only as old as you think you are. Being young at heart pays and, yes, 40 is the new 30.

2) Being the fastest runner doesn’t always matter. But being the smartest does.

Meb Keflezighi is rarely the fastest man in the field. In the 2014 Boston Marathon, no fewer than 14 men had personal best times speedier than Meb, some fully 5 minutes quicker. Read the rest of this entry →

Happy Birthday, Cinderella! My Girl Is 5 Years Old Today

Happy Birthday to Cinderella the Dog

Cinderella! (Photo: Lev Kuperman)

Happy Birthday, Cinderella!

OK, I have no idea if today is actually her birthday. There’s a 1/365 chance that it is. But three years ago today, this sweet little dog came into my life. Since she was a stray without papers, my husband, Phil, and I anointed the day we got her as her annual feast. The vet guessed she was about two years old then, so five it is!

I shared Cinderella’s story last year: Happy Birthday, Cinderella! My Favorite Running Gal

Cinderella

Cinderella gets cozy on my pink Cinderella running costume.

This year, my favorite running princess—like so many runners—is coming back from injury. Her vet diagnosed her with intervertebral disc disease, which is essentially a herniated or slipped disc in her spine. She had most of the symptoms when I took her to the vet a week ago Monday. She’s been on pain killers and Prednisone since then and dedicated to a regimen of complete rest. In other words, she’s been lethargic and in pain.

It’s been breaking my heart to see her like this. When she’s not sleeping on a pile of laundry or, in this photo, a running costume, she’s usually running, playing, or trying to stop me from working. Cinderella is a dog full of life. Read the rest of this entry →

Rest In Peace Running Streak

Walt Disney World Marathon, Cinderella running costume, running streak

This Dole Whip Pineapple Float celebrated the end of my running streak.

That’s right, my running streak has officially died. As my husband predicted, it passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 12, the day after the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, which I ran as a guest of runDisney.

As Walt Disney World Marathoners and Dopey Challengers arose at 3 a.m., I slept in until 8:15 a.m., the latest I’d slept all week.

And then I did the unthinkable: I didn’t go for a run. I ate a Dole Whip pineapple float at Magic Kingdom instead.

Sure, I walked a few miles around Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I even jogged a few steps to hurry to nab Fast Pass tickets for a few rides. But I did not run the requisite mile.

And so, my running streak ended after 46 days and 166 miles, averaging 3.6 miles a day. I started with a race in the first week and ended with three races (1, 2, 3) in the last week.

Here’s the run down of its final days since my last recap. Read the rest of this entry →

Happy 2014! Holiday Running Streak Finish: Week 5

running streak finish

Happy New Year! Starting it with a run.

Happy New Year! It’s 2014 and I’m already starting off the year right: with a victory.

I did it! I made it all the way through to the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak finish, running at least 1 mile every day from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day.

I finished the streak strong, with my highest mileage tally yet: 30.52 miles. Now I’ve got a solid base for some serious races in 2014.

The Holiday Running Streak was a really invigorating experience, so much so that I’m planning to continue the streak for as long as I can.

Whether that’s one more day, one more week or even one year, I’m going to keep on plugging. Let’s see how far I can go.

Here’s to a new year of running and all the excitement it brings!

Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak Finish: Week 5 Read the rest of this entry →

Year in Review: Top 13 Races and Top 13 Posts of 2013

Toronto Waterfront Marathon, year in review

Finished! (Photo: Marathon-Photos.com)

Oh, 2013. Without setting out to do it, I ran 13 races in 2013. And I wrote a whole lot about them. Welcome to my year in review.

I started the year with a bang at the Walt Disney World Marathon. And I’m ending with a bang with the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak.

In between, the year was filled with a roller coaster of highs and lows.

There was the thrill of a new 3-mile PR after the low of a hip injury. I’m the klutz that fell off a horse. It knocked me out of the game for a few weeks and sent me into physical therapy.

There was the high of running in Hawai’i and the low of getting sick for my fall marathon. And there was the redemption of a 5K PR after marathon season was over.

If 2013 taught me anything, it’s that you can’t win them all. But you can still have fun trying.

This photo of me with my finisher’s medal at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is proof of that. I was sick, failed to run a marathon personal best like I wanted, but still managed to enjoy the race. My smile says it all.

And you know what? When you give a goal your best and fail, it makes the successes even sweeter. I ran 6 of the 13 races either as fun runs or training runs and I ran 7 of the 13 races as races, pushing with everything I had. I managed to PR at three of them, and scored a few PRs in workouts without even trying, too. I’ll save those for my Goals of 2014 post.

So here are my 13 races of 2013. Read the rest of this entry →

Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak: Week 4

runner's world holiday running streak, Central Park

Running through Central Park on Christmas Day.

This is it. With four weeks down, I’m entering the final stretch of the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak.

So far, my quest to run at least 1 mile every day from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day has been a resounding success.

I had a slight drop-down in mileage this week thanks to holiday festivities, but my Monday to Sunday calendar week was my highest yet at 28.94 miles.

It’s keeping me so motivated that I’m thinking on continuing the streak into 2014.

But one step at a time. I have to get to the finish line of the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak first.

Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak: Week 4

Wednesday, December 18: 3.51 miles

My favorite way to kill time on a treadmill is to push buttons. And a fartlek workout is a perfect workout for button-pushing. So I did 1-minute hard and 1-minute easy for 30 minutes with a little warm-up and cool-down on each side. Read the rest of this entry →

27

Dec 2013

Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak: Week 3

running streak, runner's world holiday running streak, Holiday running

Rocking my run streak in Central Park. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

I’ve now survived three weeks of the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak, my quest to run at least 1 mile every single day from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day.

Only I have discovered that 2 miles is the new 1 mile.

Without consciously setting out to do it, I upped my mileage with longer “rest” days. Instead of 1 mile, I decided to get in 20 minutes of easy cardio.

The result? I feel amazing. I honestly can’t believe how well the streak is going and how totally normal running every day feels. I’m over the tiredness I felt in Week 2.

Ask me again in another few weeks, but for now, running and I are besties.

Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak: Week 3

Wednesday, December 11: 2.05 miles

I had some errands to run that were roughly 1 mile away from home. So I ran there. And ran back. Love sneaking in easy miles that way. Plus, in certain neighborhoods and times of day, running is actually faster than the subway, bus, or cabs. Oh, to live in New York City.

Thursday, December 12: 6.25 miles

This was a gentle progression run on the treadmill. I watched TV, instead of listening to music as usual, and the miles just flew by. I could have kept going and going and going. It was my longest and overall fastest run of the week. Some days, you’re just on. Read the rest of this entry →

Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak: Week 2

Runner's World Holiday Running Streak, Christmas Tree

My Christmas tree!

It’s alive!!! I’ve made it through two weeks of the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak.

In Week 1 I did 20.15 miles. This week I topped that by 3.56 miles. My plan is to use this streak as a base for some super fast personal record attempts in the Spring.

And it’s all going according to plan, mwah ha ha ha.

I started Week 2 feeling a bit worn down. Wednesday and Thursday took every drop of mental fortitude I had. My body and my mind just didn’t want to run. The bloom and excitement of starting the streak had worn off. I think my body started feeling the effects of running every day. But then I got my groove and finished the week strong.

Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak: Week 2

Wednesday, Dec. 4: 1.00 mile

I was just inexplicably tired. I logged precisely 1-mile with my dog. I mapped it out before hand and stopped the second I crossed the 1-mile mark. Sometimes a girl needs a break.

Thursday, Dec. 5: 5.32 miles

I planned a 5-mile workout. Every ounce of me wanted to quit at 3 miles. I was on the treadmill and I just wasn’t feeling it. The seconds were crawling by. But I made myself finish. Read the rest of this entry →

14

Dec 2013

Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak: Week 1

holiday running streak

Running Streak Day 1! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

The Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak is on!

So far, I’ve been surprised by how easy it’s been. But much of my first week was a “vacation” week, away from my desk and cavorting with family. So it was relatively easy to make time to run every day.

Now that I’m home and back behind the computer, things are getting real. Yesterday, I squeezed in one measly mile on the treadmill sandwiched between work and an evening trip to the grocery store because I had zero, and I mean, zero, zilch, nada food in my kitchen.

I know that not every day is going to be great. Those 1-miles days are essentially my days off. But I was surprised by how laborious that 1-mile felt. Here’s hoping today is better!

Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak Week 1

Wednesday, Nov. 27: 6.50 miles

I started strong one day earlier than the official start on Thanksgiving Day with six miles and six hill repeats thrown in. Bam! It felt amazing.

Thursday, Nov. 28: 2.15 miles

I wanted to run more but this was all I had time for before it was time to start cooking for the big Thanksgiving feast. But I was still riding a high from the day before. Read the rest of this entry →

To Streak or Not To Running Streak Over The Holidays?

Yaktrax Run, winter running, running streak

Ready for the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

As Thanksgiving Day rapidly approaches I’m struggling with an age-old running question: To streak or not to streak? Back in 2011, I participated in the first annual Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak. I ran at least a mile a day from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, logging 100 miles in 40 days during a month when I often sit on my butt. It was an excellent exercise in perseverance that helped me battle the gluttony of the holidays and sluggishness of cold, dark winter days. I didn’t run a fall marathon in 2011, so I was raring to go.

Come 2012, I’d finished the Philadelphia Marathon just four days before Thanksgiving and I didn’t have the running streak in me. I needed a break.

But this year, I’m debating taking the pledge once again. My fall marathon, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, is more than a month behind me and I’m feeling that familiar itch—the itch to train. I loved doing the running streak in 2011. It kept me honest and gave me a great training base for nabbing some personal bests in 2012, which proved to be one of my fastest years on record. Though I bested my 5K and 10K times this year, my half-marathon and marathon PRs from 2012 still stand.

But the Holiday Running Streak is a commitment. I found that squeezing in a mile was sometimes difficult. There were midnight runs, a pre-holiday party run in 3-inch heels, and post-dinner runs with creamed spinach jiggling in my belly. There were sick runs, runs during snowstorms in rural Quebec, and plain, old “I don’t want to” runs.

So how to decide whether or not to streak now? Read the rest of this entry →

25

Nov 2013

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Goals

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Course Map

Well, this is it folks. In a little over 60 hours I’ll be at the starting line of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. You’d think that after running six marathons, wrapping my brain around that prospect would get easier. But somehow it never does.

It’s especially meaningful to me to be running in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Media Challenge in memory of my cousin Laura and on behalf of the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada.

As always, it’s been a long and winding road to get to this point.

Kauai Marathon,

Running the Kaua’i Half Marathon (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

I started off marathon training season the wrong way: with a hip injury I sustained from falling off a horse. One month of physical therapy and two triathlons later, I was finally ready to focus on running long again.

I’ve logged 470 miles and 10 races, with three of them as specific training runs for this event: the Kaua’i Half Marathon, Direct Edge Newport Liberty Half Marathon, and 20 miles of the Yonkers Marathon. In the process, I’ve notched personal records at 3 miles, 5K, 4 miles, 5 miles, and 10K, the last three of which I nailed during a track workout. I’ve gotten a lot faster this year, especially over the middle distances. Read the rest of this entry →

17

Oct 2013

Cookbooks For Runners From RW + No Meat Athlete

cookbooks for runners

Spicy Fish Tacos with Pineapple Slaw. (Photo: The Runner’s World Cookbook)

‘Runner’s World’ & ‘No Meat Athlete’ Offer New Cookbooks For Runners

If you are kitchen-challenged like me, you might need the help of a recipe or two to feed yourself and your family. Even if you are an expert at-home chef like my husband, sometimes it’s easy to get caught in a food rut.

So I appreciated the thoughtful care that went into two new cookbooks for runners that hit shelves this month: “The Runner’s World Cookbook,” a collection of 150 recipes from the monthly’s pages; and “No Meat Athlete: Run on Plants and Discover Your Fittest, Fastest, Happiest Self” by running blogger Matt Frazier with Matt Ruscigno, featuring 55 recipes and a guide to running on a meat-free diet. Read the rest of this entry →

10

Oct 2013

The Confidence Game In Running, Riding & Life

confidence

Confidence! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Confidence. We all struggle with it. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. Because I struggle with it in running, as in most things.

The last two months have been a real confidence struggle for me. And it all comes down to the day I fell off a horse.

Since then, I’ve been struggling through injury to get back into running shape, riding shape, and mental shape to believe that I can do the things I set out to do—score a personal record in a September half marathon, run an October marathon, continue to make progress as a runner and a horseback rider.

Shaken confidence is pernicious. It takes root like a tree and begins to shade every thing you do.

You thought you were making progress as a runner? Think again. You won’t be able to run a sub-2 hour half-marathon this fall. Not gonna happen! Maybe next year, kid.

You think you’re a good enough rider to play polo? Not even close. Maybe you should just give up. Hang up your mallet and call it a day. Or else you’re going to fall again!

A Christmas Story comes to mind. I feel like I have a chorus of naysayers in my brain chanting, You’ll shoot your eye out!

They’re the type of thoughts that, if given in to, undermine your best efforts and all but guarantee a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. Read the rest of this entry →

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