On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Monday, December 31, 2012

Nobody but You Loves Your Year in Review Post!!!

I did stuff. Other stuff, I didn't do. Still more stuff, I declared that I would do.

Some of it was good; some of it was bad; some of it was neutral.

Some of it involved running. Most of it did not. There was even some drama.

See you on the flipside.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winners (and not-so-winners)

First, a loser: ME. I want to run with Frank Shorter, badly. So I entered the contest I mentioned last week. If you go here, you can see my sad little picture in 11th place (as of right now).

The picture is this one, created for me by my friends Samantha and Jules:


If you're so inclined, would you mind voting for me? You do have to install an app via facebook, but it's an innocuous one, I promise.

At the time when I decided to enter, the winner was somewhat stagnant at ~1k votes. Now she's above 2k and gaining rapidly. Still, despite having little statistical chance of winning, I don't want to lose. You can vote every day. As we say in my hometown, vote early and vote often.

And then, a winner: The winner (ahem, and only entry: take note, runningskirts.com) of my contest last week is Run, Chelle, Run. Email me your address and I'll send the "bra" to you! (My email is on the right side of my blog.)

Friday, December 21, 2012

What is wrong with this picture?


I got this email yesterday morning from someone named "Summerfest Rock 'N Sole Run." I don't know about you, but I get these things with some regularity. This one caught my eye, though.

Do you notice anything missing from this advertisement? Like, for instance, the location of the race? Is this an oversight? Do they assume we'll just know (from the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge)? Or are runners just so desperate for races that we'll register for anything, anywhere, and travel if we have to?

In tiny print at the bottom amongst the sponsors there's mention of Milwaukee, so I'm assuming that's where the race is being held (it is; I checked). Strange fact: I have never run a race in Milwaukee. I have never run a race in Wisconsin. I have never even signed up for and then DNS'd a race in Wisconsin. I have run races in Chicago, which is about 90 minutes from Milwaukee. And the race starts at 7am - have fun waking up by 4 if you're intending to drive up from Chicago...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas comes early!

I've never given anything away on my blog before, I don't think, but today only I have two special offers for you.

The first: the women at runningskirts.com were super kind enough to send me a package yesterday. In it was a skirt capri combo (expect photos soon), a pair of compression socks (those bad boys will grace my legs on my next flight for sure), and a Thing.

The Thing is classified as a sportsbra on the website, but it's... not really. I may not be pin-up model endowed, but I do need some support, especially while running. On top of that, I have a huge preference for the uniboob smooshed down look in my sports bras. Now, commenters on their site swear that it's got more support than it appears. However, what is a dealbreaker for me - but maybe you're totally into this - is that it's hugely padded. Gel-like pads. And we know how I feel about padded sportsbras.

One commenter intriguingly says, "I do not have a flat stomach so I put the Strappy Tank over it. (I removed the pads from the Strappy Tank)." Is it stomach support? That comment confuses me.

Not me.
It's a size medium and if you think you'd like it, let me know by leaving a comment. If more than one of you would like it (what are the chances?), I'll give it to the person who leaves the funniest joke in the comments. It will go out in the mail on or around the 27th. Or whenever I next notice it cluttering up my bedroom and decide that I need to get rid of it. If no one wants it, I'll put it in my closet and maybe wear it to a yoga class every now and then before giving it to Goodwill the next time I move.

Let me say, for the record: it was awesome of them to send me this stuff and I'm super grateful, and it's because I'm super grateful that I'd like to find it a loving home. (Oh, and just so you know: I didn't even so much as try it on. What you are getting is a new-with-tags Thing. I took it out of its plastic bag (which it will come to you in) and felt the pads and promptly put it back in its plastic bag.)

The second giveaway: my Christmas card. If you'd like one, send me an email with your address and I'll drop one in the mail for you (probably not until after Christmas, but I swear you'll get it eventually - and it only says "Happy Holidays" and not "Merry Christmas," so let's go with Orthodox Christmas as our deadline).

I'm not going to ruin the surprise and tell you what the card looks like, but you'll appreciate it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's like I have to do this.



But I don't really know how. I mean, I have photos of me running, but I don't really think they're the sort of thing that could get people to vote for me (they're looking for the most inspirational photo; not a how-not-to).

The other option is to "Submit a picture of the most creative display/placement of the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon logo." I thought about photoshopping their logo onto one of my myriad photos from my semi-exotic travels, but then I realized... a) I don't have photoshop, and b) isn't that cliche?

I'll let you in on a secret: I am not a creative person. And the lead entrant already has over a thousand votes. Could I possibly still win this if I entered? Any suggestions on how?

And yes, I did angrily tweet on Saturday that I was giving up marathoning. But like a true junkie, maybe just one more will be okay...


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I need advice.

As you might remember, I'm currently registered for the Goofy Challenge in January. Plane tickets are booked, hotel is reserved, and I've even conned a Disney-loving friend into coming with me.

But as you might have guessed, my training for this race is lagging.

Call me a slacker (I know you're thinking it anyway), but I'm okay with this. You can look at this one of two ways: either I'm a lazy-ass whose running ego is stronger than her legs can maintain, or (insert some bullshit healthy living blogger line about striking a balance between exercising and drinking). I could also complain about races that require you to sign up months in advance, well before training even begins, but I've beaten that horse to death.

Thing is, I've been running as much as I've wanted to this fall and I've felt really good about that. Last fall when I ran three marathons in 22 days, I didn't have a life. I was unhappy; I was quite literally running away from a bad situation in my personal life. I needed running to give me some structure in my life and some respite from how unhappy I was. Now, while running is still a crucial part of my life, I'm also enjoying not training for anything. I'm enjoying running when I want to and how far I want to and not feeling like I need to get a certain mileage in. Before last week's two turkey trots, I hadn't pinned a race bib on myself in months - and that was an amazing feeling.

Sometimes I like the rigidity that training gives me. Other times I like being more flexible. The past few months at work have been harder than usual, and I've gotten more satisfaction out of socializing than running. I've recently discovered that my demographic tends to socialize in ways that aren't conducive to 6am training runs (in other words, I'm staying out too late too often). And it's fun. This staying out late thing is a phase for me. Running's not.

Troof: I ran the Disney Marathon once before, in 2004.
This is me at the start. It was cold.

Get to the point, Tracy. When I signed up for Goofy, I thought I would be over my non-training phase  and I'm not. Currently, I'm solid with long runs to about 14m meaning I'd still have enough time to half-ass training for the full. If I try to do both the half and the full, I maybe maybe could physically do it but it would be ugly.

So what do I do? Here are my choices, as I see it:
  1. Do Goofy (the half on Saturday and the full on Sunday); understand that it will be fugly and my marathon time will likely be 6+ hours. (I have a good sense of my pain/injury threshold and I'm not really at risk for injuring myself.)
  2. Do only the full on Sunday; accept that I'm half-assing another marathon and be okay with a slow time. Get to spend Saturday in the parks (further compromising my marathon time).
  3. Do only the half; potentially have an okay half time, but know that I'm disappointing the friend I'm traveling with and that I just invested a crapload of money in running a Disney Half Marathon. Get to spend Saturday afternoon/evening in the parks.
  4. Other?
I'm legit torn between the options. I would love any suggestions or insight. One note: Disney is what it is. I'm not a Disney fangirl but I do appreciate the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Don't judge.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Race insurance! Is this a Thing? I hope so!

Evidently I should be reading Slowtitch/triathlon forums! (Forums? Fora? Whatevs.) I got an email last week, directing me to this article about a new feature that Active is offering: race insurance.

For $7, your race entry fee is insured. Their policy states that:

“With Registration Protector, a participant who misses an event for a covered reason such as an injury, illness, job loss, transportation delays, military/family/legal obligations, and more can get their registration fees reimbursed.”

I love it. Compared to the fact that you're already paying Active's fees, this is literally a small price to pay - I couldn't find a chart of Active's fees, but I think they start around $3 and go up from there depending on the cost of the race registration. It's unclear what proof they'll need for "family obligations," but in the case of an illness, all they require is a letter from one's doctor (can that letter say that my "injury" is a failure to train, hm?). I will happily pony up the $7 for insurance on the more expensive races if it means peace of mind that I might get my race registration fee back if I can't run.

If you ask me, and I get that you didn't, the race registration system as it currently exists is broken. The "no refunds" policy of race directors, coupled with races that sell out months in advance, creates a system that doesn't fully benefit either runners or race organizers, and we need a new system. My theory, if you were curious, is that it's a model that worked well in the '80s and '90s, when racing was less popular. Runners didn't have to register months in advance for races. The tiered pricing structure gave a financial incentive to register in advance to the runners, and that gave much needed cash upfront to the race directors.

That said, right now demand outstrips supply (at least in NYC), and there's no incentive for a race director who can easily fill his races to change the registration model to make it more runner-friendly. I mean, here in NYC, we have 250 runners registered for a marathon with no set date.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Turkey Trots: a weekend in review

What's up with my running lately, you ask?

Oh, you didn't ask? Umm... this is kind of awkward. Let's pretend you asked, okay?

Last weekend I ran not one but TWO different turkey trots. On Thursday I ran the PPTC* Turkey Trot 5 miler. For those of you keeping score, this is the fourth time I've run this race. In 2009, I ran it in 52:21 and was ecstatic. In 2010, I ran it in 47:35 and was even happier about it. In 2011, I took that time down to 46:37. This year, I finished in... are you ready for it?

46:37.

No joke. I finished with the exact same time as last year.

Can you explain why my thigh looks all square at the top?
Seriously, can you explain that? Weird.

Now... the big dilemma/question: WHAT'S MY 5K PR? Astute reader-stalkers will remember that my existing PR was 27:50, set way back in June, 2011.

Last Sunday, I ran the Coney Island Sports Foundation's Turkey Trot 5k. I dragged Samantha out to do it with me and told her that she was going to pace me to a PR. Problem is, we hadn't counted on it being freezing cold (at the end of November! never saw that coming!) or on there being a massive wind in one direction (on an out-and-back course) or on us both feeling lethargic and lazy and not really wanting to run that morning. So we warmed up exactly zero miles and started the race cold.

And then I finished right around 27 minutes flat with even splits of 8:42/8:43/8:42.

I have to say "right around," because I have no official time. They did time the race - I saw the clock, I saw the recording equipment - but when the results still weren't posted this morning, I emailed the race director and was told that due to the "dire circumstances,"** the race wasn't timed.

I'm bummed, frankly. I know it was a pretty significant PR, and the race was small enough that I  definitely placed in the top ten in my age group and possibly even higher than that.

Lame. It happens. But what's my PR?

*Little known fact: I am a dues-paying member of the Prospect Park Track Club, although I have attended exactly zero of their group runs/events.
**I don't know exactly what is meant by this, but it's my no-questions-asked go-to line from this point on.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Believe it or not, I really don't like blog drama.

Drama in the "blogosphere" somehow seems even more petty than drama in the real world, don't you think? But yesterday, after my blog post about the upcoming Central Park Marathon, I got a comment on my blog and an email from the race director/head of NYCRuns that I wanted to address publicly. I've already replied to him directly via email, but here is what happened:

Before I posted my post yesterday, I emailed Steve Lastoe. Steve and I have had a mostly cordial professional relationship for a few years, and I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and ask him about the date change. Here's my email to him:

I'm having trouble getting the message header to show in gmail, but I sent this email last night at 7:54pm. I usually post my blog first thing in the morning before work, but I held off some to give him a chance to answer. And I waited. I figured he'd seen my email but just didn't have an answer. Fair enough.

I noticed partway through the day that he'd posted on facebook that we'd know the exact date of the race in "mid-December." He'd said in the original email that it would be "the first week of December." Not too big of a difference, but it still suggested to me that there was still just much too much TBD to be collecting race entry fees from this race. In the opinion of this blogger. Who has an audience of, say, 250 readers on a really good day, about 100 of whom are me hitting refresh.

His email
His fb post
By the time I left work tonight, I had an answer to my email from Steve. Here is his message, in its entirety:

And then here is the comment he left on my blog yesterday:

Honestly, when I got his messages, I was upset. Call me overly sensitive, but it had never been my intention to insult someone whose work I might not always agree with but mostly respect. But then, after I calmed down and reread my post and his responses, after a couple of my cyberfriends also commented on yesterday's post (thank you, Mike and AR), I was kind of bewildered and confused. I hadn't insulted him. I'd disagreed with the way he is running this race, sure. But personally insulting him? Not so much.

So, here is the email I sent to Steve:


The response: this morning I got a very professional email from another staff member at NYCRuns taking responsibility for the December/mid-December confusion... followed a few minutes later by a very immature, defensive response from Steve (email me if you want me to forward it to you). Again, Steve didn't address any of my actual points in the email (although he did in a second blog comment on yesterday's post), and he ended his email by saying, "If you don’t want to run our races – that’s your choice, but don’t blame our communication skills." (NB: that was the first anyone had said about me not wanting to run their races - it had only been the Central Park Marathon that I had been talking about.)

Let me stress something: I think NYCRuns is a great idea and a good company. I do not have a problem with them or their races. Unfortunately, I do think their Founder and Race Director needs to learn how to communicate better. Less reactionarily.

Coming up tomorrow: I tell you about getting locked out of my apartment after a run and nearly freezing to death and other stuff that is completely not controversial to anyone but me in any possible way.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No refunds! NO REFUNDS!!!

NYCRuns, frequently billed (even in their own propaganda) as an NYRR alternative, yesterday announced the Central Park Marathon. Going back to the roots of NYCM, the race will be 5 laps of Central Park (the course cuts across at the 102nd St. transverse and doesn't include Harlem Hill). The date of the race is 24 February - sort of.

Here's what the email announcing the race said (in part - emphasis mine):
Right now - this race is scheduled for Sunday February 24th. However, we reserve the right to move it to a March or early April date if one becomes available... Your registration would automatically transfer to the new date. Our standard no refunds policy will apply in that instance.
In other words, give us $75 toward a race that you may - or may not - actually be able to run. You might be 8 weeks out from the race, or you might have a full training cycle ahead of you. But no refunds! No refunds! NO REFUNDS!!!

Officially, this has crossed a line for me. The rules governing race entries favor race directors, sure, and I know there are sunk costs involved in throwing a race, but this is a new low: asking participants to sign up for a race (cajoling them into it by threatening that the race will sell out early) and then not only reserving the right to change the date but actively seeking to.

By all accounts, NYCRuns throws a great race. They also threw this past weekend's Brooklyn Marathon, which got accolades despite asking participants to run a grueling 9 laps of Prospect Park. That said... there was a slight fiasco surrounding registration for the Brooklyn Marathon. After NYCM was canceled, NYCRuns petitioned the city for permission to expand their field. They started a waitlist - $200 got you a non-refundable place on the waitlist. $100 of that went to charity, and in the instance that the field couldn't be expanded, you could use your remaining $100 as a credit toward future NYCRuns races.

[Ed: I got this wrong. The registration was $125, $50 of which went to charity, per the race director and contrary to what I (mis)remembered.]

In the end, despite saying that they "firmly expect[ed] to get permission to expand the race," despite an email petition that almost sounded threatening in tone ("if you believe in your city... if you believe in growing local business..."), they didn't get permission. More than 200 runners were shut out of the Brooklyn Marathon - with wallets $200 lighter. But, you guys, people signed up so the policy couldn't be that bad. Also, processing refunds is hard, you guys!

How is this even legal?

By the way, mark your calendars: I'm totally throwing a race. It might be this year, it might be next. Entries are limited and it will be awesome. Just give me lots of money!!! Register now!

Update: be sure to read the comments (where NYCRuns' founder responds in the comments) and my next blog post/update, to which he also responded in the comments.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I'm totally doing this.

Seriously, how funny and awesome is this race? Or not race. I don't know how to describe it - but hopefully I'll see you out there in February (you have several months to train).



While you're waiting for your race registration to be confirmed, go make sure you've read the NYTimes profile piece on the Welsch sisters. Is it me, or does the Times harp on their girliness? The piece is full of odd descriptors that paint a scene of tiny, delicate cuteness. I see where the author was going and the point he was trying to make, but I still feel like young boys competing at their level wouldn't be described in such oddly diminutive terms.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Question:


Is there any other sport besides running where a lack of experience is considered a good thing? Where not being good at the sport makes your achievement somehow more impressive?

I love running and I would love it if every person in the world became a runner. That said, I'm kind of tired of reading stories that start with "So-and-so had never run a step in her life before deciding that she was going to run the New York City Marathon."

I feel like this is the equivalent of me stating that - despite not knowing any of the rules of football - I'm going to win the Superbowl next year.

That's the weird thing about running, isn't it? We're all in the same race, from elites to back-of-the-packers. We all get the same accolades and looks of non-comprehension from our friends when we roll in to work the next day, whether we ran a 2:52 or a 6:47 marathon.

Speaking of which, if the unsolicited mass marketing that Troy from Athlinks sent me the other day is to be believed, I'm above average in the 5k and 10k and waaaaaay above average in the half-marathon:


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Let's talk about something that's not NYCM.


OMG WHY DIDN'T NYCM TAKE PLACE EVEN THOUGH I TRAINED SO HARD??
WHY IS THE CITY SO SELFISH???
DIDN'T WE NEED IT FOR RESILIENCE???

Don't care. I've stated my non-opinion, and I didn't have a horse in this race (by which I mean that I'm the horse and NYCM was the race and I wasn't running regardless).

Now, what I do want to talk about it is this: the intersection of running, young women, and social media. Specifically, why are running/fitness/food/weight loss blogs written by young women so popular?

My former cyberfriend until she had a baby Marie tweeted something last week that caught my eye:

Following up on it, I discovered that the irritation that provoked her tweet was a twitter list that RW had put together of the runners that you must follow on twitter. Specifically, they are the "Running Twitterati." (I can't even type that made up, fake word without making a scrunched up, grossed out face.) It first appeared in the print edition with the subtitle of "Elite athletes, science nerds, funny runners, and others to follow."

Here's the list. Yes, there are some runners whose names you recognize (I'm not going to argue with Ryan Hall, Meb, Nick Symmonds, or Lolo Jones). And, of course, there are some gimmes: Bart Yasso, Hal Higdon [ed: I love you, Cousin Hal*, but I just unfollowed you as you are not interesting on twitter], and RW themselves.

But then... Then the list breaks down into a hodge-podge of "healthy living bloggers," newbie runners, and twitter self-promoters. I'm not calling any of these people out individually, but if you followed this list, you'd be under the impression that twitter runners had barely a basic understanding of the sport of running and were fascinated by taking pictures of their oatmeal each day. What could have been an excellent resource for valuable - yet casual - running information instead reads like the dream twitter list of a 14 year old blogger fangirl.

It's not a coincidence that the RW list is young, affluent, and white (and heavily skewed female). That's the demographic of running, at least as RW markets it. Because guess what? We like to spend money. Here's a novel idea: what if all of my female runner friends, as a block, vowed to stop caring about Lululemon, Oiselle, or Nuun and instead looked for the best product instead of the sassiest marketing. We won't fight for the right to join a company's relay team or be on their advertising team. Instead of giving companies free advertising, we can spend our money on products that help our running - trendy or not.

Excuse me now while I go read some LRC - at least they'd never use the term "twitterati." (I'm gagging again.) But not to leave you on a bad note, how about this: here's a heartening story that has nothing whatsoever to do with overprivileged runners.

*True story: Hal Higdon's wife is my paternal grandfather's first cousin.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fish and visitors

WILL THE NYCM HAPPEN THIS WEEKEND OR NOT???

I guess so.

But you know what? I certainly don't care.

Easy for me to say when I haven't invested my time (and vacation dollars) into preparing for this marathon. But when a full neighborhood in NYC burned to the ground Monday night (with unknown - but possibly significant - fatalities), when hundreds of thousands are without power or water until god knows when, when 7,000 people are living in shelters, and when much of our subway system is flooded and inoperable until further notice, I don't care about the marathon.

I've been shocked to see people on facebook and twitter who were demanding to know what NYRR was going to do about the marathon, even before the storm hit.

That said... if the marathon goes as planned like Bloomberg wants, there will be fewer runners. So for those of you who do run it, your odds are better. With many elites unable to make it into the city and others canceling their travel plans left and right, you will place higher perhaps than you've trained for. Go to it. You can win this one! There's good prize money!

And the cluster that will be the finish line, with 40k runners and tens of thousands of spectators all in Central Park with few cabs and no subways... man oh man. Good luck with that one.

Now, then: who's with me spectating and where are we meeting up to watch the race? Make it Brooklyn. I can't really so much get to Manhattan right now.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm okay.

Brooklyn's response to the
storm. It says, "FU Sany." (sic)
I weathered the storm (haha, get it?) until it blew over last night (again, I'm so funny). My part of Brooklyn was largely unaffected. We had bad winds but no power outages. Having no working subway at present is inconvenient, but I don't have to go back to work again until Thursday, so that's a problem for Future Tracy to figure out.

A problem for Present Tracy is: when can I safely run outdoors again? How worried should I be about falling trees? Two of the (fortunately few) hurricane deaths in NYC were people walking their dog this morning.

Running clothes can double as storm gawking clothes.
Provisions. I also bought some food. And
some more beer.



Friday, October 12, 2012

News that's actually kind of old but let's pretend I'm on top of things right now

Their email suggests that you "Consider raising $1 for every cup
you pour, every person you guide, or every year you've volunteered!"
Alternately, you can give the money to me. 100% of funds given
directly to Tracy go to help Tracy. You know, help me do stuff.
Like vacations. Or buying shoes. I have no overhead.
  • There was a "Revolution Marathon" in Cairo. Except it wasn't a marathon. This link provides all the info I know about it, but based on what they say there, the distance was probably closer to 10k, if that.

Jeans. Because dri-fit is hard to find in Cairo.
  • Have you heard of Maegen Krifchin? You will if you haven't already. She just placed 13th in her first World Half Marathon Championships (first American). She beat Shalane Flanagan by more than 2 minutes. And she trains in Syracuse, NY. Because, of course. What does Syracuse have that Mammoth doesn't?
Oh hai KARA GOUCHER please get out of my way.
  • The first and second place finishers of the Berlin Marathon may have thrown the race. You say "cheating scandal"; I say "fixing an event means our sport has finally arrived!"
I wonder how many groupies Kimetto lost out on by placing
second? True fact: ladies love winners.
  • What's up with me? I'm still running, and stuff. Still not running NYCM. Nothing really of note to report. For some reason I can't explain (the weather?), I'm slightly faster now than before. I've met a few people in my neighborhood with whom I can run. I wore capris yesterday morning and may have seen Kristen Schaal running on the West Side Highway, although the internets say that she's moved to LA.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Who would run a faster marathon: Usain Bolt, Lance Armstrong, or Derek Jeter?

The funniest thing happened to me yesterday: I woke up in the morning, made myself breakfast, watched some tv, went out for a walk and then lunch, watched some football, did some work, emailed a couple of friends about running. Do you notice there what I didn't do?

Around 7pm, it occurred to me with a start: the Chicago Marathon had happened that morning! And I had no idea who won! I still don't, in fact. I tried googling from my phone, but I kept getting public interest stories about charity runners instead of actual race results. I wish more news outlets would take our sport seriously as, you know, a professional sport. (I did, however, discover that the marathon ran out of medals. Honestly, I'm still surprised that people who take 7 hours to finish get medals - the marathon officially closes at 6.5 hours.)

But that's not my question, and I have a pressing one today. My question is: which non-distance running professional athlete would win in a marathon?

I have a friend who follows Formula 1 racing. One of his assertions is that the drivers are in impeccable physical shape. Okay, I'm with him so far. However, where he loses me is in trying to compare across sports. Fitness for cycling or for (auto)racing or for sprinting, even, is all different and each requires different aptitude and (most importantly) different training. Am I right?

Any excuse for a shirtless Frank Shorter picture.
I mean, Lance Armstrong said that running a marathon was the hardest thing he'd ever done. And when you compare pictures of elite distance runners against elite sprinters, it doesn't take much to see that they are physically different.

Those thighs. They are substantial.
But I'm still mulling this over in my head. How far does natural athletic ability take you versus sport-specific training? How well could a super gifted athlete do were s/he to switch sports and train, in earnest and over a period of more than 18-weeks, for a marathon?

Update: I can't figure out how to embed it, but here's a former NFLer talking about how much he prefers to watch track over football. Not exactly relevant, but I feel some vindication.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Just DON'T do it?

Yesterday afternoon was gorgeous - absolutely perfect running weather. The sun was shining brightly and the air was warmish, but with a faint hint of fall's crispness, the sort of weather where you only need a tshirt but it crosses your mind that you'll need your long sleeved shirts soon. I arranged to meet a friend to run a loop of Prospect Park mid afternoon to take advantage of the weather.

I got to our meeting place a few minutes early, and I sat down to wait for him. I was waiting at a drinking fountain situated next to an entrance to the park, and while I waited a lot of runners stopped there for water or as they finished up their runs. One by one, I watched these runners stop, immediately turn off their watches, and grimace as they looked down at their wrists.

It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of my Garmin. As much as I love the data it gives me, I also hate feeling chained to it - and seeing these runners on Sunday really helped to crystallize that for me. Yesterday was one of those days that was made for running, the sort of day where we runners wake up, look at the sky, and think immediately of our running routes and of how amazing it's going to feel to be out there. Why ruin that feeling? Does it change your run to know that you averaged 9:27 minute miles when you like to aim for around 9:15s?

Even better than the perfect weather and great company I anticipated, it started raining lightly midway through our run. A gorgeous day with good conversation and a light misting of rain falling on us to cool us off and refresh us - does life get any better?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The road to hell is paved with my old blog entries

Or maybe the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Same-same.

I was reading through my blog archives (ah, the joys of having several years of your running history documented on the interwebs), and I was reading things like, "Now I'm going to start doing speedwork!" or, "I'm totally going to run Pikes Peak sometime soon!"

But if there's one thing I've learned reading running blogs, it's that you want to read about winners. You want to read about people who run hard and do a good job at running cool races - not people who sit on their couch eating ice cream again instead of taking their training seriously.

I like to think that I'm pretty well in touch with my abilities. However, sometimes my physical abilities (what I could be capable of doing) conflict with my motivation (what I can actually get myself to do). And therein lies the problem. I want to be a better runner... sort of. I just don't want it enough.

Some of this I've understood about myself for a while: I use running as a stress release, as relaxation. When I train, I have to turn running into something goal oriented, something competitive, something that's the antithesis of relaxation. And then I risk enjoying it less.

I don't have any deep thoughts to go along with this. I just wanted to acknowledge that I see this problem and that it frustrates me. To close with another cliche, I'm not going to make any excuses. My friends don't need them and my enemies won't believe them.

Besides, I'm totally going to start following a training schedule tomorrow, man. Tomorrow. There will be speedwork. And races. And crazy time goals. Right? Right?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The ethics of bib transfers

Overall, I consider myself to be a fairly ethical person.

I try not to knowingly break the law, and when I do I pay the consequences (literally pay: yes, I'm looking at you, Cape Cod police officer who gave me the $170 speeding ticket Labor Day weekend). I don't download movies or music illegally. I don't use prescription drugs that aren't prescribed to me and I don't use them for anything other than their intended use. I haven't used any illegal drugs since I smoked pot a few times in high school (and got really sick and threw up for days, but that's another story). I've never jailbroken an iphone. I try to be a fair and honest person in my dealings with coworkers and acquaintances.

And yet, I recently had someone tell me that he considered me to be terribly unethical. And it was because of a running-related issue that I hadn't even given a second thought to: an "illegal" bib transfer. (Not that it makes a difference for the greater ethical question, but I was technically only a conduit in this bib exchange - I helped a friend find someone to run a race when she couldn't.)

My first marathon. Whatever happened
to Race Ready shorts? They were
the RAGE then.
Here are the rules, as you know: Most races, with the exception of Marine Corps, do not allow bib transfers for any reason. When you buy a bib, you are committing to run the race. If you get injured, if your plans change, if you die, or if you otherwise just don't want to run the race, that's too bad. You're out the money and no one can race in your name.

Thing is, racing has changed a lot in the past few years. I signed up for my first marathon about two weeks before the race (by mailing a check! I'm so old). Nowadays, major races sell out months in advance - sometimes on the day registration opens, months before training even begins, long before you have any sense of what your plans will be. I also remember, fondly, paying about $60 to register for this race (and thinking that was expensive) - this year's NYCM cost $266 to register. Obviously races count on non-participants, overselling their events safe in the knowledge that many people won't toe the line. So why does it often feel sort of like they're taking advantage of you?

Naturally, this creates a large market for bibs. Search craigslist shortly before a major race and you'll find loads of people trying to unload their bibs and recoup some of their registration fees.

Typically, I've treated bib transfers as a victimless non-crime. In fact, I honestly saw it as completely harmless and never even gave it a second thought. Someone paid for a race registration, thus reserving a slot in the race. What difference does it make who the person showing up is, whether they're different from the one who signed up or not? As long as they're not being intentionally deceptive - i.e., making large sums of money off the transaction or getting someone to run the race in their name in order to qualify for Boston - what's the harm? I can give away my theater tickets to a friend - what's the difference? Plus, it has a rather David and Goliath/Robin Hood feel to it, with the greedy race directors taking advantage of the innocent runners. And here's your chance to get something back from the big guy!

So is it unethical, or is it our prerogative as consumers? Have we bought the bib, in which case it's ours to do with as we want? Or should I be thinking of it like airline tickets, and accepting that non-transferable does mean non-transferable?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Updates on things that bring people to my blog

Being as I'm not exactly generating much new content these days,* I figured I'd go through my stats and see why it is that people actually still find their way over here. There are a few search terms that dominate my blog statistics; consider this a cheat sheet to my most sought after posts (and then please explain to me why oh why some of these have had this much longevity!).

1) [insert creepy skinny male runner] shirtless/naked: Galen Rupp, Mo Farah, Ryan Hall - ladies (and I'm sure some dudes) are looking for eye candy. Glad I could help, even if most of us are scarred (rather than turned on) by these images.

NB: Sage Canaday shirtless is not creepy. Sage Canaday shirtless is a present.


2) running skirts: Yes, I still wear them, although I've also introduced a couple of pairs of shorts into the repertoire. I like shorts and always have, I just don't like that they never fit me well. Skirts are my jam; skirts are reliable and work for me. Because the last thing I want to be thinking about when I'm running is my shorts riding up.

3) low ferritin and running: I've struggled with my iron levels for a while now. I get tired and lethargic, so I go to the doctor and she tells me to take iron; a few weeks later I feel better and she tells me that my levels are up and that I should stop; a few months later I feel tired and lethargic again... At present I have it mostly under control, which is to say that I've chosen not to go to the doctor about it and am instead dealing with it by mostly forgetting to take my iron pills and just complaining, loudly, about why I'm always so tired.

Hey, my doctor is in Harlem still, and since I moved to Brooklyn, that means like 3 hours round trip. And don't suggest I switch doctors - I love her to pieces. I'm just saving up problems so I can hit her with a long list when I finally make the trip.

4) port a potty: Yes, yes, last year I had a very annoying race that devolved into a run-in (ha ha, "run" in, get it? triple entendre!) with a port a potty. And I blogged about it. And a full year later, people still find my blog looking for info about port a potties. And truth be told, I'm not entirely sure I've even used another port a potty since then. And you people can be kind of creepy.

Inexplicable truth: my blog is the first result when you do
a google image search for "port a potty." And I just made
it worse.

*I am running, just not a super lot. And I'm okay with that. And nothing interesting is happening on my runs lately, thus I have nothing really to say.**
**Actually I have a lot to say, but most of it is either mean-spirited, totally personal***, or depressing.
***I really, really hate when bloggers are all, "There's so much going on, but I'm not really comfortable sharing it with the blog!" Here's something novel: then just don't share it. We don't know what you don't tell us. That said, there's so much going on in my life right now, but I'm not really comfortable sharing it with the blog!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Boston registration opens up this morning for the Paul Ryans of the world who have met their qualifying standard by 20 minutes or more. (Actually, he needs to up his lying game: he was still a little too slow to have been able to register today.) I think this year, like every year so far, I'm going to sit Boston out. Yeah.

But! I did something amazing over the weekend! I ran, like an actual double digit run that could maybe be referred to as "long"! I know, right? I was all ready to direct you to Angry Runner's latest post, where she says what I've been thinking but angrier (and thinner and faster, the bitch). But see! Magic! I had one good run and now my life is totally different! Right?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Two NYRR type things

Bag drop redux
In case you're not on their mailing list, JackRabbit is offering a super convenient NYCM bag drop to the first 1,000 runners to register for it. You can leave your bag at their store near the finish line (or their store in Brooklyn) the day before the race, and pick it up after the race. You even get a free bag out of the deal!

Personally, I believe the conspiracy theory that says that it's the city's fault that there won't be a baggage drop, that the city insisted that the Park be cleared sooner this year than in the past. Let's face it; whether you agree or disagree with the new baggage policy, the Park exit has been a nightmare. And marathon times are only getting slower, meaning that more and more people are still in the park later and later. I wouldn't blame the city for cracking down on that.

The Bronx
Let's say that I knew someone who was registered for the Bronx 10m race this Sunday and didn't want to run it... let's just say that for a minute. Is there any chance that you know anyone who would like to run it, for free? I'll even deliver the race number/t-shirt to you on Friday. Please, please - it would be a huge favor to me!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Never saw THAT coming...

As Mike pointed out in the comments on my last post (via slate), and as the New Yorker and the New York Times* both also confirmed, Paul Ryan didn't run a sub-three hour marathon. He ran a 4 hour marathon.

Does it matter? Does this make him a fabulist, as Paul Krugman claims, or is it just some meaningless macho bravado from a guy who probably could have gone sub-3 in the peak of his fitness if he'd tried? I dunno. This isn't a political blog.

Oh, btw: I totally ran a sub-4 hour marathon. Yeah, it was like 3-something, mid-3s, you know, 3:20-something.

For your amusement, and totally unrelated: a photo of the grossest thing I've seen in years, far grosser than politics could ever ever be:

White chocolate candy corn m&ms. This product is real.
*As a New Yorker, I only now need the Daily News to tackle this issue for the trifecta to be complete. Oh, wait...

Friday, August 31, 2012

I contend...

...that if you've run a sub-3 hour marathon, you don't refer to it casually and nonchalantly as "2:50-something," as though you can't remember your time.

How long was that marathon?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

BIG CHANGES TO NYCM! FINALLY!

Those of you who belong to the NYRR or are running NYCM this year may have seen an announcement this morning: there will no longer be baggage check at the NYCM as of this year.

Instead of the UPS trucks carrying your one clear bag of stuff from Staten Island to Central Park, you'll be given a fleece lined poncho at the finish and allowed to exit the park immediately. They'll have phone stations set up so you can call your family if you need. And don't forget, marathon runners ride the subway free on race day.

Judging from the response I witnessed on twitter and facebook this morning, you'd think that NYRR had just announced that NYCM was going to kidnap the young children of any racer and feed them, still alive, to Mary Wittenberg. The sense of entitlement is astounding - as, I understand, is the cost of registration for NYCM.

I, for one, LOVE this policy. I ran this race the past two years (and spectated for my sister the year prior), and the finish line was an absolute terror. The level of congestion absolutely without a doubt colored the overall race experience - negatively. The finish area is a part of the race that needed to change, and I applaud their efforts. A fledgling attempt to move Wave 1 baggage trucks last year didn't do anything for the majority of racers.

Here's what I said about the finish area in 2010:
I finished, got my medal, got my mylar, got my Gatorade Recovery Drink (I call this beverage "miracle"), and... stalled.  What a terrible, terrible finish chute.  There was no way to exit the park without walking past the UPS trucks/baggage pick up, and the crowd of thousands of runners was not moving.  It took me 30 minutes to walk less than half a mile.  30 painful, cold, claustrophobic, intense minutes of tensing up.  That was a mess-up.
And in 2011:
But the finish area - the finish area! What a nightmare the NYCM finish area is (still!) A claustrophobic, disastrous, terrible half mile of death-shuffle. I had to push through crowds of people wanting their picture taken in order to have my medal handed to me, and then I had to push again to get a bag with Gatorade and water in it. It took me nearly 30 minutes to get 10 blocks out of the park, while crammed between barricades and UPS trucks with NYRR volunteers with bullhorns watching me from lifeguard chairs.
I do get why people would have liked to know about this change in advance, but I suspect NYRR has been working on it quietly and didn't want to announce it until they were certain it would be happening.

Everyone this morning is full of Ideas, like they know exactly how they can improve the system and they've thought of things that NYRR hasn't. (Put the finish line on Central Park West! Put the bag trucks on Central Park West! Force the city to expand the road in Central Park for US because it's all about US! CHANGE THE COURSE!) Trust me, NYRR explored those possibilities. Either that, or people are full of accusations that NYRR is doing this only to make money - possible, but they're replacing an effectively free baggage claim run by volunteers and a major race sponsor (UPS) with the additional expense of ponchos.

We'll see in November. I, for one, am optimistic.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cheating

So I got this harassing email from my sister yesterday, angry that I haven't blogged in a while.

The resemblance to me is uncanny.
I'd apologize for that, but nah. I just don't want to blog. And that's okay. I appreciate that she enjoys my blog - and thank you to both of you who actually still check back here, what with my erratic posting schedule. But I haven't been running much, and I'm facing the dual reality that a) I'm very, very okay with that in the short term, and b) it almost definitely means that I won't be doing the ultra I'd planned on in October - and I'm okay with that, too.

I'd like to be running more, sure, and I've been feeling kind of depressio lately, which is probably a direct result of not running. But I'm waiting for the day when I wake up super super excited to run to return to it. I think that day is near. This isn't one of those periods where I need to be forcing myself to do it, and that's okay. (If I keep saying that it's okay, I'll start to believe it, right? RIGHT?)

So anyway, my sister tells me that I need to blog. She even goes so far as to send me blog ideas. One of them was Kip Litton, the marathon-winning Michigan dentist who is actually an elaborate cheat. The New Yorker wrote an amazing story about him recently, finally exposing the extent of his deception in a major publication instead of on the pages of letsrun.

Her second idea was another cheater, also fresh from the pages of letsrun. I told her that if she cared so much then she should just write about it (you can be a full-on brat and speak petulantly like that to your siblings). And she did. Here, after that lengthy intro, is what my sister has to say:
Connie Mendoza, a rather fit looking master's runner from California, cheated at the San Francisco marathon recently and won the master's division.  Cheaters suck, especially when they are cheating someone out of a well earned award.  But 539 comments on a Letsrun.com thread?  Really?  Why do people who have nothing to do with the situation care so much?  I didn't read the entire discussion, but from what I gather it gets really interesting around page 19 when the (people who have nothing better to do with their time) contributors discover the SF MEN'S MASTERS WINNER also cheated!  hah.

http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=4761190

So, moral of the story, James Kalani and Connie Mendoza are cheaters.  Hundreds of letsrun.com disciples make it their current life's mission to discuss this at length for no apparent reason.
I'm not sure I agree with my sister entirely. First off, I totally absolutely adamantly like really really disagree with her body policing. What's the relevance of Mendoza being "fit looking"? She legitimately ran a 3:06 marathon - who cares if she's "fit looking" or not when she can run that fast.

And then... letsrun. Yeah, they're obsessed. Ahem. But she cheated. And that's not cool. She not only cheated by cutting the course, but in doing so she knowingly cheated someone who deserved it out of a hard won award. Personally, I'm glad that there are people there who've taken the time to expose this. And, could you not argue that my sister has nothing better to do with her time than to harangue on the letsrunners for haranguing on a cheater?

Phew. If you've stayed with me this long, thank you again. Here's a reward: a photo of me (tiny, in back in the red skirt) running down Bleecker Street as part of Claire's Beer Run last Sunday.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Oh, Nike

You're so cutting edge and funny, with your sexism and stuff.



Damn, yo. Way to honor those female Olympic athletes.

Read more about it here and here. Or don't, because it's gross.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I hate Prospect Park

There, I said it. And it feels really, really good to say it.

I know it's only been two weeks and a handful of runs/bike rides. But I hate it. And I need suggestions on an attitude adjustment.

My old running route along the West Side Highway in upper Manhattan was idyllic. It was quiet, serene, peaceful, and beautiful. It was possible to have a bad run along there, yes, but it wasn't possible to be in a bad mood while there. (I know; I tried it. Without fail, I felt calm when I was there.) The river, immediately adjacent to the path, was picturesque. You were in the city and yet you weren't, all at once. I loved it.

But now my old route is an impossible hour away by subway and I'm stuck running in Prospect Park. And I hate it. I realized why when I was running this morning: it's the outdoor equivalent of treadmill running. The perfectly paved path, the carefully manicured greenery, the loop that twists and turns at just the right casual-yet-completely-planned trajectory... It's manufactured outdoors. Outdoors lite.

Gag.

Combine that with its popularity. Moms walking four abreast pushing strollers. Parents teaching their kids how to rollerblade or bike. Runners, walkers, fast and slow, taking up my path. Plus, like its Manhattan neighbor (Central Park), it's a fashion show.

I know I should feel grateful that I live less than half a mile from a scenic, paved running trail. I have an uninterrupted 3.36m loop, and I don't have to run through the streets, stopping at lights and for cars. But instead I feel like a petulant, pouty brat who wants to stomp her feet and shake her fists at the thought of doing another loop of that damned park. I can listen to music to drown out my own boredom, but I don't like to rely on my headphones.

How do I fix this?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ask and ye shall receive

You google for it, I provide results: Galen Rupp shirtless. With Mo Farah (courtesy of his tweets).


There is a lot about this photo I don't understand. Maybe now that they're gold and silver medalists, Nike can pop for a second ice bath tank? And do they always bring a photographer with them into the bathroom?

Excuse me while I go look at some Ryan Hall naked to cleanse my palate.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Flying Monkey Marathon

Today is Wednesday, 8 August, and the lottery for the Flying Monkey Marathon has just closed.

And my name was not entered into it.

That makes the second hard-to-get-into fall marathon I've had a guaranteed entry into that I've instead chosen not to enter. (I had a guaranteed entry to this year's Monkey as a result of finishing last year's, and I had a guaranteed entry to NYCM as a result of doing last year's 9+1.)

That is okay by me.
Okay, no it's actually not.

Maybe I'll run the Brooklyn Marathon instead. Or maybe I'll sit on my couch eating ice cream.

All I know for sure is that I've run these two races the past two years, and it's time to take a break.

For now. Maybe next year?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sarah Attar: Saudi American?

One of the quietly powerful stories to come out of this year's Olympics - at least if you have a personal interest in the middle east, like I do - is the increased participation we've seen from women representing Arab states.

In particular, articles I've read lately have featured a few different athletes: from Saudi Arabi, Sarah Attar will compete in the 800m; also from Saudi, Wojdan Shaherkani competed in judo; from Afghanistan, Tahmina Kohistani in the 100m, and Woroud Sawalha will compete for Palestine in the 800m.

Now, sure, the women I just named are all competing without having technically met the qualifying standards (they're participating under a clause that allows for under-represented countries to be included). In other words, we know they'll lose before they even toe the line because they don't perform at the level of international elites. But even their inclusion in these contests is a sign of progress for the middle east, where women's participation in sports isn't always encouraged.

Well... not so fast.

From what I've read of Shaherkani's story, that holds true.
From what I've read of Sarah Attar's story, I'm not so sure. I don't want to downplay her Saudi heritage or the impact that her participation might have as an inspiration to future generations of Saudi women, but she's a college student at Pepperdine who was born and raised in the US. She competes for their track team (wearing shorts and singlets) - although you won't readily find images of that, as they were all scrubbed from Pepperdine's website/her facebook page prior to her inclusion on the Olympic team. Instead of the California clothing she's no doubt used to, she'll be competing in a hijab and conservative dress as befits a Saudi athlete. This seems disingenuous to me, almost as though she's wearing an Olympic costume (rather than a uniform).

These women are all extraordinary exceptions. Saudi culture in particular but middle eastern culture in general poses a lot of barriers to women participating openly and equally in sports, from societal norms to issues of dress or decorum. So I applaud them for being role models for women and girls throughout the middle east.

But secretly the western feminist in me would rather see them actually compete to win, as in: a competitive program that trains women athletes to the best of their abilities on an international level. Even if it means competing without the conservative dress. I mean, if the imams can issue a fatwa postponing the Ramadan fast, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, exactly how bad would it be for a female athlete to show a little leg during competition?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Really, Essie?

Because when I workout, I want to be SURE that my nail polish reflects the fact that I run marathons to be skinny!!! <3 p="p">
That's sarcasm, btw. "Marathin" kinda makes me retch a little.




Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Links!

I still don't have anything to say, so read this stuff instead:

In case all of your facebook/twitter friends haven't posted this in your feed already... the Onion reports on marathon runners. Yeah, we all know that guy. Many of us are that guy.

This race in Prospect Park is in my hood in a couple of weeks and they're giving pint glasses at the finish. You should do it!

If you care, you probably already know all of this, but here are the air times for the Olympic track and field events so you don't have to watch any of that crappy swimming and gymnastics to get to the running.

Brooke has some awesome commentary on Born to Run and barefoot running. Read it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I didn't mean to take a break, but then I did

I'm taking a break from running (and blogging).

I haven't run in a week. And I'm okay with that. And I'm not sure when I'm going to run again. Maybe this weekend? Maybe. Not sure.

The heat stroke came back with a vengeance last Monday when I tried to run after work. And then, even though I stopped running, it started getting worse. It got to the point today where being outside for less than 10 minutes was causing a heat rash to break out on my neck and chest. Running isn't appealing right now.

It doesn't take an advanced degree in medicine or psychology to figure out that it's probably as much in my head as my body. That said, I'm going to ride it out with air conditioning and cold compresses and go back to running (and blogging) when I feel like it again.

A week (or even two) off from running doesn't make me not a runner.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hurdles in the media

I was flipping through a recent edition of US Weekly recently, admiring their feature on Olympic athletes, when I saw this ad:


What do you think? This is what High School Tracy would have lovingly referred to as a "twat shot." And yet... that angle is fitting for the subject, no? I hate the stupid "mother nature's monthly gift" euphemism, but I like that the ad is focusing on women's strength rather than how much we like to dance on the beach wearing all white during that time of the month.

That said, I challenge you to find me a competitive athlete with a rack that large.

Next up, the WSJ has been running an Olympic-themed video series entitled "How hard can it be?" This week's episode features the steeplechase (and also Delilah of, ugh, "Hey There Delilah" fame*). Spoiler: the reporter gets wet.



And not hurdles, but still relevant: Ryan Hall is featured in the NYTimes talking about his coaching plan and how he lists God any time a form asks him for the name of his coach.

*Dear Plain White T's: it's called a vocative comma. Learn it; use it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's official! I'm moving...

...to Brooklyn.



I took the day off from running yesterday to go into deepest darkest Brooklyn in order to sign my new lease. I may - or may not - have followed that up by ordering a t-shirt that says "I hate Brooklyn" from cafepress after drinking the vast majority of a bottle of moscato.

Come August, my usual West Side Highway route will be replaced by loops of Prospect Park.

My typical jaded New Yorker routine will be replaced by an even more jaded hipster schtick.
Irony is dead; long live irony!

I already registered for a 10m race in Prospect Park in August. Shall I now sign up for the Brooklyn Marathon?

__________
Btw, thank you for all of the thoughts and suggestions after my run on Monday. I did an easy 5m on Tuesday as hair of the dog, and I felt much better. I've taken it easy the past few days, making sure to drink a lot of water. So far, so good - let's hope that doesn't happen again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Catharsis

Yesterday I had the strangest thing happen to me, and I need advice/help.

In fact, I contemplated not even writing about it - frankly, because I'm kind of embarrassed. But I don't really know what happened, and I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts or suggestions or maybe just commiseration.

Yesterday evening, I'd agreed to meet a slightly faster friend for an evening run. The plan was to do a 6m loop of Central Park in his usual 58ish minutes - more of a tempo run for me at this point, but a pace that should be manageable. About a mile in, I realized we were going much too fast for me. I'd had a long day spent mostly in the sun and probably hadn't had enough to eat or drink (I'd felt depleted before I even began the run).

Also complicating things, I don't sleep well in the summer. I think I'm the only person in the world who does NOT sleep well with white noise, so I'm faced with the choice of sleeping in the heat (bad bad bad) or running the AC (too much white noise for me and almost as bad). I wake up most mornings exhausted. I've joked with my friends that I need to start hanging out in hotel bars in hopes of picking up a businessperson and spend the night in the quiet cool of his hotel room. Totally joking. Yeah.

Also, I've had a lot going on lately, including finishing up a huge project for work, finding a new apartment, saying goodbye to a much loved roommate, and accepting that I'm going to have to give up my dog for the year (custody agreement with the ex-boyfriend; at least I get the to keep the shitty-ass cat). It's all together put me in a pretty bad mental/emotional state.

So basically, a perfect cocktail of fatigue, pushing the run too hard, and not dealing well with personal stress. And then...

As we neared Cat Hill, about 4 miles in, I was in a bad way and decided to walk up the hill. As soon as I stopped running, I involuntarily got the chills. My legs nearly buckled and without any thought, I started sobbing. The weird thing is, this wasn't emotional. I was upset, sure, but what happened to me was purely physical. There was no "I'm upset and I'm going to cry" moment; instead, it was like all of a sudden there was just too much of something. Adrenaline? Endorphins? Something bad? It just all bubbled over and I was out of control. I got it together and we ran the last two miles slightly slower, but it happened again when we stopped running at the end.

What gives? Sadly, I can't even blame PMS. I need running as a stress release; I can't have it turn into something that stresses me out (and I'm not a cryer, so crying isn't cathartic for me but instead stresses me out). Any thoughts or advice? At least tell me I'm not alone.