Monday, May 31, 2010

It is rather fitting that my last run at the park is with A. She has been a rock solid friend of mine since the moment we met, someone I could always turn to no matter the situation. I will truly miss her.

We opted for an easy reverse loop in what turned out to be scorching temps. The park, ever at 9am, was already filled with people. I have to say that I love the park so much more when during the cold darkness of winter, when all you ever see is the occasion track of another.

2010 has been a crazy year for me so far, from the holiday's on. As the seasons have changed & the distance of time started to show things clearer, I came across a song that I couldn't let go of. So as I say goodbye to the park for now, I thought it was appropriate to share Feist's "The Park".

Distance: 5.35 miles
State of Mind: You can only try so hard.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Contrary to what my stress level & body tells me lately, I am trying to spend every possible moment with friends in the park...enjoying what few opportunities I have left in this beautiful area.

Today, I met up with three hot guys to sweat it out under completely clear blue skies. Not that I spent much time looking anywhere but around me. We decided to do an outside loop of the park, spending the whole time talking about change, ego & life.

In the middle of the run, we were all giving each other advice as to life's hard choices & JP brought the conversation to that famous song quote "freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose". In the context of my life right now, with a feeling of so much loss around me, it made me think about how f'd my perspective can be in such an amazing time of change. Isn't it strange (and beautiful) how some see things so differently.

Distance: 5.75 miles
State of Mind: So close, I can touch it

Here are some pics from the little send-off picnic, such a sweet way to say goodbye to the park.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Layers & layers of memories can't do justice to how much joy & happiness the group runs have meant to my life. Probably the most important weekly run, the Saturday morning group run, meant the most to me as I loved the adventures we all embarked on as we discovered the beautiful ugliness of this city.

Today's run was no different, as a good group of us got together to endure the humidity & mugginess of another May day. We decided to do a usual route of Battery Park, as it offers a lot of clean running, some good uphills (bridge mainly) & beautiful views from the tip of the island.

Afterwards, J & a few others had a little champagne picnic to wish me good luck in my new adventure. Even though J mentioned how lucky Seattle will be having me, I truly feel my luck has been in Brooklyn. Looking around at all the beautiful faces, I felt at home here. Something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Distance: 12.9 miles
State of Mind: A little heartbroken, trying to keep it together

Friday, May 28, 2010

Went on an impromptu run today with S & R, doing a route I have never done before. Although I can't remember the exact route, from the park we basically made our way through Park Slope to Redhook & back through Carroll Gardens. It is a somewhat muggy/cloudy day, but the run was full of energy as we all traded stories. And for the first time, I ran alongside the Redhook waterfront, which was gorgeous. We all decided that it is a shame that more people don't partake in the unusual beauty of the Brooklyn waterfront, but I have no problem selfishly enjoying it all to myself.

Distance: Maybe 9 miles
State of Mind: A little break in the middle of the day sure shapes things differently

Although running is what defines me in so many ways, my yoga practice has become a base that I count on in a very deep-rooted way. It is what I turn to when I need help balancing my physical self, but more importantly it is where I turn when I need to rinse my mind of the day-to-day & allow myself the chance to see beyond just me.

Fitting for my final practice at LL, I had the companion of my friend JCS. As usual the room was filled to the brim, something that I think elevates Ali's teachings to an insanely beautiful level of practice.

If vinyasa is all about breath-synchronized movement, there is nothing more I crave than a combination of flows that allow complete focus. We moved for a good 30 minutes without a break, dancing in our own way & trying to find grace within. There was absolutely no better way for me to end my time at LL, my god I have learned a lot.

Distance: n/a
State of Mind: Grateful for what I have been given

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I love love love this heat, but my god, it's certainly hard to run in. It isn't very often that my legs feel good, my breath feels in control BUT my whole body feels like it is melting away with each step forward. Summer must be coming.

To be honest, I rather enjoyed the painful feeling that today's heat brought on, it was a reminder that every good thing can have it's own set of negatives. At 3pm I was soaking up the heat in a bikini & at 6pm I was doing everything I could to cool down & stay on my feet.

Met up with B & S a bit early, to have a seemingly quiet run around the park. It was nice to get out at a different time & see all the fresh faces. After the first loop, a group of us decided to do one more, to enjoy in the first 5k speed series of the season & to cheer on our amazing teammates who looked painfully tired in this heat.

Distance: 8.7 miles
State of Mind: I think I dropped 5 lbs in water weight today, hmm, not bad.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My life is so surreal right now, I can't believe that tonight will be my last speed workout with Coach & the group. My god, how vacant I have had to make myself in order to make it through all this with a smile on my face.

As I left work for the last time, never having to feel the pull of my two different worlds in quite the same way, I knew that I would have a fun night of unwinding & beating my body up a bit. After making my way to BPS, it was a warming thought to see a brand new session prepare to get underway.

We ended up doing hill repeats on the GAP hill. Beside from the few male visitors, a pack of us girls all stuck together to use each others energy to drag ourselves up the hill. At times, it felt like a force that couldn't be broken.

We ended up doing 7, 6 of which I held in quite well for. As we cooled down through Center Drive, I looked around at our green surroundings, closed my eyes for a moment & gave thanks for all the joy that the park & it's wonderful people have brought to my life.

Distance: 4 miles warm up, 7 GAP hills, 4 mile warm down
State of Mind: It's reality, I guess

Sunday, May 23, 2010

There are few things more gratifying than a painful recovery run to put your body back in fighting shape. Met up with the group to do an outside loop, which should have been a piece of cake. But with a healing leg, a half marathon still a distant memory & muggy heat...the run was actually quite painful.

Distance: 5.75 miles
State of Mind: Taking things one day at a time.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ran the Brooklyn Half today! Wow, what an amazing place we are lucky enough to call home, every step of the way to Coney Island was beautiful. With a very sore quad, I decided to take myself out of the race & enjoy it in another running alongside the ever-positive A.

Probably the most fun part of the race was the first seven miles in the park. Even though the park was crowded, the energy was so uplifting. You could sense the runners putting their all in & slowly becoming more & more tired as we headed down to Coney Island...what a great feeling. And with so many PPTCers running today, it was evident that our team is full of a variety of talent that feels so welcoming.

Lately, in life, I feel more like a bystander than anything else. With all this change around me, it really has allowed me to question who I am & what I want out of life (or at least try to). Seeing all of these people around, some strangers & some friends, it is so great to watch them put one foot in front of the next.

Distance: 13.1 miles + 1 mile warm up
State of Mind: So proud, so very proud, of all the PPTCers.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Even with an extremely sore quad, there was nothing that could keep me away from yoga practice tonight. I just couldn't imagine not trying to absorb every last ounce of Ali & the surrounding depth of love & devotion in all of her classes.

Like the practices I dream of, the room was packed head to toe with the a-typical rich, white girl trying to find balance in her seemingly crazed world. What a beautiful sight.

Within minutes, I was dripping all over my mat, I knew I was in for a treat. The whole practice, A kept on going back to value of enjoying the "now", letting go of expectations, letting go of the dreams, just living for the moment we are in now. One thing that always confuses me about my life is the fact that I seem to be attracted to people who talk of not looking back, doing what feels right, no matter what society or tradition says. It really made me think about my life & the choices I have made. I truly don't think that I am living a life that is completely me, there are so many things I have wanted, still want, that I simply don't go after as I don't want to be seem as wrong, crazy or selfish for my desires. It is hard to believe that there are people out there that just follow their heart, without thinking of the consequences. I wonder who they are.

Distance: n/a
State of Mind: Dripping, from the mind down.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Met up with the Wednesday night group for what I thought would be a quiet run around the park. M & I had a great ratio of guys to girls, nothing we could complain about. After the first loop, we all decided to put in a second loop, even though my injury told me otherwise. Thing is, with the prospect of going home alone, it doesn't take much to keep me out alongside people I love & respect.

Distance: 8.7 miles
State of Mind: Glad regret is not a common word in my vocabulary

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

After a rainy, rainy day...I took a leap of faith & headed up to "eh" or East Harlem for an adventure unlike any other I have ever experienced in NYC. After meeting up with H & R, + a very cute friend of R's, we headed down to the 102nd St. passenger bridge to cross from one island to another. After a short run, we ended up at Icahn stadium in Randall's Island, empty with the exception of a few runners who had the courage to make it out in this type of weather for a track meet.

Although my quad was still a bit sore, the energy of the track meet was pretty remarkable. Nothing like the usually brouhaha of the races that I typically attend, just the pure, raw glory of hitting the track, listening for the gun on the last lap & putting it all on the table.

I raced smart, took it easy each loop & just tried to stay consistent. I ended with a 6:25 or so, nothing to write home about but the experience just showed the variety of experiences available in this amazing city.

Distance: 1.5 miles, 1 mile at 6:25, 1.5 miles
State of Mind: Glad to spend quality time with such amazing runners, oh & friends

Monday, May 17, 2010

Still injured, very little running. But trying to be inspired by my heroes.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

After taking two days off, yes two, to rest my sore right quad...I decided to give it a go today. My plan was to immediately start running, at a slow pace, & to see how long I lasted until it hurt. Like always, I went out slow but kept picking up the pace to fulfill my competitive spirit. But thankfully enough, I calmed myself down, stuck with my running husband K & slowed the pace to a comfortable level as soon as I felt myself pushing it a hard.

Distance: 5 miles
State of Mind: It is exhausting showing my real feelings.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Went to yoga practice tonight, excited to clear my head & lengthen my muscles. It was a quiet class, as A wasn't teaching tonight. About 30 minutes in, I felt a little pain/tear in my right quad which concerned me so I tried to make the smart move & call it quits for the evening.

It is strange that yoga practice usually reveals small pains in my body, but it very rarely causes this sort of pain.

Distance: n/a
State of Mind: A bit worried...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Met up with the group for a grueling loop around the park, my legs just didn't like me. But thankfully, with the company of J & M...I was able to keep my mind off of my heavy legs & on the foggy beauty of the park.

Distance: 5.35 miles
State of Mind: Definitely harder to recover than I remember

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Still sore from my mountain escape, I headed to the last workout of the speed session to put my body to work. Coach had us do long, long, long hills near Center Drive, just what I needed.

I ran hard with the girls, but decided to call it quits after only 5 hill repeats so to not burn myself out for the upcoming, scary Brooklyn half.

Distance: 5 mile warmup, 5xlong hills, 1 mile warmdown
State of Mind: A bit sad

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Raced in the North Face Bear Mountain Half Marathon today, what a treat.

After getting up while the crescent moon was still shining brightly, I headed to meet with a few other PPTCers to take the short drive up to the park. It brought back memories from the first half I did here 2 years ago with N & B, but that was a whole other ballgame as the course had dramatically gotten easier since the first annual. As my memories started returning, I knew that I needed to start slow & enjoy the course or I would get eaten alive by the hills & footing along the course.

With winds shivering us to the bone as we waiting for the half to start, H & I stayed calm & let the beautiful scenery around us dictate the day. As the race got started, you could feel the excitement enter the woods as we started our first series of uphills.

The course, in my mind, was broken up into three sections. Section one consisted of a steady few miles uphill. Section two, which must be considered the hardest, was extremely rocky/rooty terrain with two majorly challenging uphill climbs (almost not even runnable). Section three was rolling hills & the same trails in section one, just in reverse.

I was reminded, as I was pushing through the pain of falling twice & almost twisting my ankle, why I love to run. The course brought back memories of me running in my hometown growing up, where all I did was let loose until I tired. Just running to make it to the next tree or over the next hill. My mind was clear, my expectations didn't matter.

I finished in 2:24, which is more than an hour faster than I finished the first half course here. I felt strong all through the race, chatting it up & pushing strong where I could.

Distance: 13.1 miles
State of Mind: Grateful to be able to enjoy something as grueling as this.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Although I should have probably stayed in bed today, I knew that my day wouldn't feel right if I didn't get out for a small (relatively) run. Met up with the group to do a muggy run to the bridge & back, it was fun not super fast but it was full of chatter.

Afterward, I went over to the Kumbhar-Flanagan house for a little family time. What an amazing boy they are raising.

Distance: 8 miles
State of Mind: Mentally preparing for tomorrow...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

After an exhaustive day of traveling to & from our nation's capital, I was happy to end it with a little yoga treat. As the city seems that much more crowded as winter has finally ended, that too feels the same for practice tonight as we all crammed in for our paid 2'x 6'experience.

This month is all about meditation, something I have never quite been able to grasp. Said simply enough, A believes meditation is an important part of our practice because it allows us to clear our heads & truly enjoy what is presented in front of us. We'll see if I can work up to actually finding a routine out of it.

Distance: n/a
State of Mind: Another thing I can't get out of my head from practice tonight is "life is but a dream". She didn't mean it in a happy, fun, exciting way... rather that if think about our future goals as dreams, and if we re-hash our nightly dreams the following day...why are we so hesitant to believe that our daily lives are not one in the same as well.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Met up early to run with A & S. Although I was grumpy & quite untalkative, it wasn't long until we all started chatting about our lives. Just goes to show that friends like this are one of a kind.

From the park, we ended up running to the promenade, taking Dean Street back to our individual hoods. What a great way to start the morning.

Distance: 7.04 miles
State of Mind: Sinking in a bit

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

After a day filled with misconception & ego, I was excited to escape the world of advertising a bit for something fresh & new. Met up with the speed group & headed down to Parkside to do an easy set of 4x800's.

Although I was tailing the group on each of the 4 repeats, my times were nothing to be bitter about. I ran a 3:20, 3:11, 3:18, 3:17. So I was pleased with my pace, just not with my lack of company.

Distance: 9.4 miles
State of Mind: 9th session

Monday, May 3, 2010

Met up with S, G & N to do the cemetery loop tonight. But this wasn't an ordinary cemetery loop as the humidity & heat beat down on us even as the sun was setting. As we are all competitive runners, it was quite fun to pick up the pace & hold on as we each took our turns trying to be the victor.

Distance: 9.7 miles
State of Mind: Happy mind, tired legs

Sunday, May 2, 2010

One of my favorite things about running is low-key, community races. Today was one of the best I have participated in as we celebrated Cinco de Mayo in style with a 5k at the park. And with the heat & humidity at record highs for the year, I knew it was going to be a challenge keeping everyone on their toes as we pushed our own boundaries to the max.

As we started the race, I knew there was no chance of me placing as, like most days in the park with my friends, I am the slowest girl of the pack. But leaving my talent aside, I couldn't ask for better company & a more welcoming experience.

I started off the 5k with a 6:13 pace, which compared to what was in front of me was slow. Mile 2 was @ 13:49 which is much closer to a 7 minute pace. To be honest, up until the hill, I felt very much in control & thought I was running hard, smart & fast. But as I turned the corner to head back down to BPS I couldn't hold on. It wasn't the fact that FDL passed me OR that I was dry heaving up a storm the last few hundred meters OR that I got passed by a girl in the very last was that my body couldn't take anymore. It simply shut down.

I finished the race in what I consider a really slow time, 21:50 something, far off from the first mile pace I held. Although my time was nothing to be excited about, I felt like there was nothing more I could have done. I simply gave it my best.

Afterward, a group of us ran down to Coney Island to get our feet wet & feel the cooling effects of the ocean breeze. To treat ourselves, we hopped on the Q & participated in the experience of getting a pie at DiFara's pizza. As we sat there hour after hour, I looked around at all of these beautiful people & realized how fortunate I am to be surrounded by such talent & such love. Made me pinch myself at bit.

Distance: 3 mile warm up, 5k at 21:50 something, 6.3 miles down to Coney Island, 1 mile warmdown TOTALING 13.4 miles
State of Mind: Try and try again

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What an amazing morning. Even with a restless night, my eyes were wide open & taking in the beauty of Brooklyn as the sun beamed down on it.

Met up with the group to do an "easy, slow" run to get ready for the race tomorrow. Probably went longer than expected & dove into topics that brought on surprise emotion, but other than that it was wonderful.

Distance: 9 miles
State of Mind: More of this, pretty please...