Saturday, January 31, 2009

Empire State run-up (tues 1/3)--preview

above left --photo of Frank and I after 2007 finish (missing amy); photos of 2006;a photo of me finishing in 2006 from, and last year's winner --courtesy of NYRRC. Unfortunately, cannot find my 2007 photos of Frank, amy, john and I!! They are gone from the computer.
Empire State Building Run-Up - 32nd Annual / Tuesday, February 3 / 10:30 a.m. / Empire State Building, New York City / Invitation only / S

From the NYRRC website:

Want to step up to a challenge? Test yourself up 86 flights of stairs in the Empire State Building Run-Up. A quick 1,576 steps will get you from the ground floor to the Observation Deck that looms nearly a quarter- mile above Fifth Avenue. Please note that this is an invitational race, with selections based on athletic ability and background.

This is an invitational race, with selections based on athletic ability and background. NYRR reserves the right to accept or reject entries as necessary to accommodate the narrowness of the the stairwell. Previous participation does not guarantee acceptance for 2009.
The Empire State Building, the most famous skyscraper in the world, was constructed on the site of the former Waldorf-Astoria hotel starting in 1930. "Opening Day" was celebrated on May 1, 1931.

Generally considered to be 102 stories high, the Empire State Building has 85 floors of commercial space, one flight to the Observation Deck, and a mooring mast structure that adds another 16 stories. In the Empire State Building Run-Up, participants climb 86 flights (1,576 steps) to finish on the Observation Deck. Although not the tallest building in the world since the 1970s, the Empire State Building remains highly esteemed for its power, majesty, and proportion.
Course Records

Paul Crake: 9:33 (2003)
Andrea Mayr: 11:23 (2006)
2008 Champions

Thomas Dold: 10:08
Suzy Walsham: 12:44

The 2009 Empire State run-up will take place on tues, Feb 3 (and it is supposed to snow but who cares?? We'll be indoors). This will be my 6th? time, and Frank's 3rd time? Last year, I took a break from the run-up (so did Frank-he was in India), as NYRRC does like to cycle in different people --in fact, I was a bit surprised that I got in this year. Our friend Amy, an elite master, is slated to run this year but she is injured --she usually comes in 1, 2 or 3.. It is tough but short! Of all of the events that I compete in, I get the most nervous before this -I am naturally an endurance runner and my body wants to start out slowly.. I get more nervous here than before a 50 miler, as know it will be suffering! My times range from a PR of 14:38 (4th woman overall--1998??) to a 16:38 --some years just fighting a cold and can't breathe or just tired (in 1996 I ran the run-up 3 days after the Kurt Steiner 50K --talk about different muscles)...the only training I ever do is some stairmaster work at the gym, and some hilly races --so at 10:30 the women line up (the men go in 2 waves about 10 minutes later) and when the gun goes off we jostle for position and sprint up the first few stairs --then the breathing gets hard and the quads start to ache. If I am having a bad day, women pass me... -30,40,50, 60 landings --water is provided and some running is involved in between ladings (thank goodness)- at about floor 70, the first man usually passes me -these men are amazing --they run the 86 steps in about 10 minutes -they bound 2 steps at a time and pull up on the handrails. The Aussie climbers train by running up sanddunes! Finally, the end is in sight --at floor 86, the climbers run outside to finish --the cold air feels great for a few minutes. After the air starts to get cold again, it's time to go down for coffee and treats (provided for reporters, who love this competition).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

snowed in again...

snowed in again and going to take kids to animal shelter --speaking of animal shelters, found this cat print that John lennon painted!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A chilly Manhattan 1/2 marathon --Jan. 25, 2009

north pole or central park?

after the race with the '50 for 50' runner --trying to soak up the sun

It's over -now we can get the heck inside!!

Don and I before the race

Michael, Frank and Don at baggage --Mike putting on all his layers!

Don and I after the race at mile 13
A quick report --still thawing out from the 13 degree temps (and that was the high this a.m.) of this a.m.'s 8 a.m. Manhattan 1/2 marathon. The 2 months' 'rest' of low mileage, no long runs save for last weekend, and some speedwork must have helped because I really felt good this morning and ran 1:32:20 --a 7:02 pace:)--Frank ran well and finished in 1:37, despite running 8 miles yesterday and a high mileage week. This was probably my fastest time since the NYC 1/2 2 and a half years ago.
Don also was his strong self-finishing under 2 hours (I am trying to convince him to run an ultra -Lake waramug). --I drove into the city with Frank and Don (thank you Pat for picking up our numbers) in the dark ---we saw the sun set over the east river as we got off the FDR --it was 7:20 when we parked-plenty of time to get across the park to the 63rd street start. One problem -it was so cold we didn't want to get out of the car. When we got to baggage I really didn't want to relinquish my parka. At the last minute we put on extra layers -I could have used mittens, and extra socks -duh. In baggage we ran into Frank' friend Michael ---that was fun. The start was cold --the worst part is standing around shivering. Frank pointed out my friend Sharon, who had a mylar space blanket wrapped around her --I knew she would blow me away so I told myself 'It's just a training run' --I knew I felt rested, but my only goal was to break my Queens time of 1:35 --first miles was 42:07 --ahead of schedule. Since all the water along the course was frozen, the runners became quite thirsty! Ended up stopping at mile 9 to break open a gatorade and water cup.
At about mile 9, I saw Sharon ahead. She was slowing down and so was I --was content to just stay behind her. I also knew that Frank was close behind --last mile was tough but just wanted to get it over with ---ended up coming in 13 seconds behind Sharon...I'll take it, as she ran faster than last year at age 53!!!! I also finished behind a local boy scout father, John, who is training for his first Boston. I found Frank and Don at baggage and the best part of the morning was sharing Frank's thermos of hot coffee...Don also had hot lemon tea ---love the smell of it -warming!
Next weekend, who knows what will happen --we are hoping to run in an low key ultra 'run around manhattan' in honor of Ted Corbitt's birthday --but not sure if it will happen. If not, will run in a shorter race ---guaranteed to be cold again.

Don's 60th birthday is coming up and Frank, Rob, Kate and I are going to 'celebrate ' with him by running the Celebrate 1/2 better be warmer! Oh, when Frank and I were changing we met a man running 50 races for his 50th birthday year --been there, done that' I told him -haha -but it's a fun thing to do --I think I ran 50 without trying..

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Early Valentine's photo

Even though it's not Feb. yet, this image of my sleeping cats (one big fluffy cat is missing) struck me as one of true togetherness -haha -or is it that they are wishing winter away???

Friday, January 23, 2009

flower sketches

some of my Wed. art class flower sketches

A bright spot in the dark of winter --Every Wed. I take a 'Botanical Illustration' watercolor class in Riverside at my teacher's studio ---she lives in a bright blue house overlooking the Mianus river --the 8 students (she has 3 classes a week) sit at tables in her seaside-themed house and look out at the frozen river and paint flowers and all sorts of natural things.
I like this 'escape' from the real world --also, I never talk about running with my classmates -they know I run, but we talk about common themes, like kids, writing, movies and art- so it is a different identity for me:)
This Wed. we painted anemomes --purple and pink feathery flowers. Our teacher is so talented, and displays her artwork (she sold a sketchbook for $1,000 the other day) so just walking around her house is inspirational. --plus she is British with a great sense of humor, and she makes us coffee with warm milk. I have been friends with my classmates for years, and they are also talented... Next Wed. we are painting Valentines' Day hearts and flowers...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

snow frustrations!!/pinewood derby

The side of Ike's car, styled like a wave...

pinewood derby cars lined up...

Ike and alec with pinewood derby cars

Pinewood derby cars lined up and ready to go

my son's cub scout pinewood derby car --the blue wave ---thanks to my brother's handiwork, it won 'most creative car'.
Today was Ike's last cub scout pinewood derby. Although it was not the fastest car, we did well (6th, i think?, with 4 first places), Ike had fun. Imagine my surprize, when at the end our car was awarded the 'most creative'. Ike won a pencil:))
well, another weekend has gone by and haven't run more than 12-13 miles per day...
I did run the fred lebow 5 miler (with frank --see his race report and photos) and was pleased that the race worked out --had the snow come earlier, it would have been a fun run again!!.
As I haven't run long in 2 months, I can feel my speed coming back. Frank, rob and I had planned to drive at the crack of dawn to the watchung, NJ reservation for a fat-ass 50K/marathon --but snow was expected mid-morning. So we bagged it (Rob has a sports car )--this wasn't really an excuse as I could have taken my 4-wheel drive and picked up Rob, but in the end I think we made the right decision. I drove out to Watchung reservation to meet my brother, who had finished my son's pinewood derby car in his woodworking shop --it was in the shape of a wave -had planned to meet him anyway --and we went for a hike on the course. We saw the front runner, Nathan, slip on the ice and fall on his back. He was not happy. We also saw Brennen and some of the front runners, and the course was pretty challenging ---single track with roots and streams --beautiful, though...we walked 6 miles and then the snow started coming down and i had to drive home. Did not see an other runners except the faster men!
Going to the venue, seeing the other runners, makes me determined to do at least 20 next weekend --but in 10 degree weather? hum...definately, this was a good weekend for anthony and tammy to run the goofy challenge -hope you both had fun:)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

back to winter racing --Norfolk 10 miler and boston buildup 10K 1/3 and 1/4/2009

view of icy Norfolk from outside of registration hall...

finally meet up with kate in parking lot.

joe, jill, and me after the 10K

frank, anton, roy, dave, tom and john after the 10K

will run for beer.

the speckled hen pub was the perfect place for the after-race beer

posing next to icebox sign

Norfolk is right next to Haystack mountain -the icebox of CT!.
what a difference a layoff of 3 weeks makes! The hilly 10 mile race that Frank and I did yesterday seemed appropriately tough --the first hard workout of the year, and this was ONLY 10 miles--wimpy compared to the 50K that we could have done --but it was straight uphill on snow covered roads and cold (15 degrees)...we drove up to the rural town of Norfolk for the 11 oclock was blustery and cold and in fact snowed on the way up!! The first couple miles were on black ice or on snow covered road..I was terrified about slipping or sliding so held back --think my first couple miles were 8:30s. Since hadn't raced in 3 weeks, tis was a good workout. We then hit pavement and ran a loop on fir tree-lined hilly roads --the wind whipped up and it was biting cold...are we having fun yet? Mile 7 was uphill --the entire mile...I could Frank up ahead at the top, along with some other runners. I finished the last 2 miles easy in the snow with a guy from hartford track club who said the race is always this cold and snowy. The best part of the race, aside from going inside, was that our bib was good for a beer in the Speckled hen pub!!! At 1:30, we had to leave --my friend Jay was coming down to the 10K today and said he'd bring my award -turns out that I got a PEZ candy dispenser(really) and a check for $20 for the third female overall. So, it pays for my entry!! The PEZ is hysterical ...did Frank win a PEZ?
fast forward to the 10K --so much fun to see everyone. This hilly Rowayton course
is the social event; the first popular race of the year --after socializing, we lined up and I was a bit nervous. Not sure what to expect for a 10K the day after the hilly workout. Frank was right with me for the first mile and warned me that I was going out too fast -yup!! After 4 miles I slowed way down (from 6:40 to 7:10) as my breathing was hard and my quads were tight --if I get this over with, i told myself, i'll never race again (smile):)!! But at the top of the hill at 9.5K, the finish was in sight and then it was over. 43 minutes, with Frank right behind (see his race photos)--being nice and not passing me. At the finish, Jim told me i won a shirt for the first 50s. Saw kate, anton, john, kim, tom elliot (no susie), and jen...
no dawn but saw her before the start. Now it is time to start thinking about a long run --meaning 20-30 miles, not 10!! Several fat ass 50K options for next weekend...oh, and bruce told us the broadway ultra society was having a 50K in feb.??? can it be true?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

happy new year/e-mail scam/trip to France

Nutella and jelly beans at Galleries Lafayette

rainy, chilly Paris

The big Normandy house that sleeps 25 people:)

A gaggle of girls at the Normandy house

my brother and sister-in-law's nj house --am going to do a watercolor painting of it or her.

my father reading 'night before xmas' to the kids --he wasn't wearing his glasses and had had his share of wine so it was too funny to listen to..

the boys at my parents' house on xmas eve
happy new year! What a crazy last 3 weeks --first, strep throat and 5 watercolor illustrations to produce (a good thing) and the 15K race cancellation....second, on a routine morning -tuesday before xmas -I tried to log on to my e-mail, only to find that my password was 'incorrect'. strange. I retyped it, and it still didn't work. Tried to change the password but someone updated my secret question -hum. Notified microsoft and opened a new account. Then wed, had to pack for NJ xmas, plus France --not great timing for this e-mail problem. But Windows Live did get back to me as promised and gave me a password link. So on dec 27 in France (had one hour of computer time in the library -no wireless at the house in Normandy) got in to my account, only to discover that some scammer had sent letters requesting $2,500 to everyone of my contacts, which mostly consist of runners, family, and PTA mothers. About 50 people had written me back to alert me --thanks to all, including marty and jim and the rest of the running community:) Hope no one fell in the slightest for the strange request. My kids, who are on my contact list, also got the request and found it funny. But it was a nightmare...and embarrassing too... Thank you all for your concern -not one person, I hope, sent money!
France was cold but sunny --the trip over on xmas was so exhausting. I will never do that again, especially after being sick and after the stress of travelling to Nj and getting no sleep,and eating and drinking during the day...but who said the holidays were not stressful?? After 14 hour trip on no sleep, we arrived at my mother-in-law's country house---staying there were my husband's 4 siblings and 10 assorted kids -all of whom live in London. It was so much fun to be with the kids, all running around and doing their own thing. We also watched a bunch of movies... I ran 10 easy miles a day on country roads, except for the last 2 travel days. We didn't do much but eat, drink and walk/bike/run...some chocolate shopping. I ate way too much bread and butter and drank way too much wine. On our last day, we took the train to Paris and despite the rain, sleet and snow had a wonderful time wandering around -I ran-walked 4 miles with Hank on tues night and saw the sparkling lights and tour eiffel on the river. BTW -starbucks is 4.80 euros --6 dollars for a small coffee:( --so I wandered with not many coffee breaks! we did stop for lunch and dinner at brasseries. The normandy house had been freezing and it was so nice to finally have a warm hotel room.
Bummer though --no running in Paris the a.m. of our departure. To add insult to injury, my teenager called from Colorado to announce that he had strep throat.

This a.m., went up to new Canaan to the xmas tree 3 miler --took all my power to get out in the 13 degree weather but had to go running anyway. Jim got about 25 people
and the course was a nice jog through the woods --then 4 of us ran the course again!
The winter of 2009 better bring some dry weather...Jim hopes it will be dry this sunday for the first boston build-up race ---don't hold your breath!!!