Saturday, October 20, 2012

Conclusion of the 2012 running season

I set out to be very dedicated to this blog but clearly that has not happened.  In short, I've been running really well and enjoyed the 2012 running season.  However, like many other things in life, timing is everything.  I registered for two half marathons this fall with a potential third in mind but did not commit to that.  The two I registered for were the Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon September 16th and the Smuttynose Half Marathon on September 30th.  Some would argue a little too close together but they were both flat and appealing for several reasons so those were my two goal races.  One would depend on the other meaning that if Phillie went well, I'd take Smuttynose either but if it wasn't the best day, I'd focus on Smutty.

Well about 2 weeks before Phillie, illness hit.  Now, I RARELY get sick - I mean I can probably say I've gotten sick less than 3 times within the last year or two - I really can't complain.  I'm also a germaphobe and work very had at staying healthy but eating right, trying to get enough sleep (this is what I'm worst at), eeping up with my exercise, and most importantly walking around my office like the character on 'Monk" - not touching any public door handle etc. without washing my hands right after, using a paper towel (I am not exaggerating).  Alas, all good things must come to an end in I find myself progressively going downhill in terms of health 2 weeks before Phillie.  It was mostly a cough (which 6 weeks late I still have residual signs of) but also cold/flu like symptoms.  Awesome.  So much for that entire summer training.

We stayed with some friends in southern New Jersey for Phillie and thank god, it soothed the blow of having just about the worst half I can remember but about 5 miles into the race, I was ok with it.  It just wasn't my day and I knew that when I woke up in the middle of the night before and thought about the pace I was shooting to run the next day and physically/mentally knew that wasn't going to happen.  I made up my mind mid-race at Phillie to focus on Smuttynose two weeks later.

Fast forward those two weeks and I really, healthwise, wasn't any better.  Well, now I'm frustrated - was timing really everything and both of these races going to be a lost cause?  Now that I had entered the bitter barn, I went to Smuttynose and left my usual game face at home.  I did not wear a singlet for any of the running clubs I am associated with nor my coach - I wanted to try to be as relaxed as possible and I felt that this was one thing that would help me do that.  I've also come to realize I run my best races when I don't care - it makes sense- no nerves, relaxed, fun running.

Well it worked, I felt leaps and bounds better for Smuttynose and it resulted in about a 2 minute PR and winning the 35-29 female division.  I was quite happy! So happy that before I even stepped back out of the car after changing, I was registered for Baystate Half 3 weeks later.  Mind you, the day before the race I promised my friends that this was my last half (Smuttynose) and that I was done racing the half distance for 2012.  So much for that - typical Gina, run a good race, register for another.

Now tomorrow is Baystate and this is truly my last half for awhile.  The bigger deal tomorrow is that my husband Jay will try to go under 3 hours in the marathon so there is really even less pressure on me because really, tomorrow his day.  I'm just going to have fun tomorrow and that's truly how I want to run this race.  I want to feel good and it just be one of those effortless runs.  We'll have some friends and family on the course and plans for a good dinner after- I'm looking forward to an awesome, fun day.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

July? Oh and August ?

So apparently I've been delinquent on my blog!  All for good reason.  It's been a really busy but great summer- lots of running, concerts, friends and family time!

My running has focused around training for the Phillie Rock and Roll half marathon and the Smuttynose Half marathon September 16th and 30th respectively.  The training is gong reasonably well and I'm working towards a 1:25 half at at least one of those.

I'm logging about 40-50 miles a week and I feel great with exception of a pain in the hip I can't seem to shake.  I'm doing all of the things I should trying to take care of it and hoping it will go away :). Training has been a challenge with work as well so I'm hoping the training I'm logging while sleep deprived will just make me stronger in the end!

For now my eye is on a fast Phillie on 9/16!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Where did June go?

I clicked on this today and can't believe I didn't document anything for June - maybe because it was a busy month!

Well I decided that there is no marathon in my fall plans.  This is for many reasons.  The first is not to lose some of the speed I've gained since I've been back from my injury and the second is really - I think half marathon training affords me better balance with my work schedule which is nuts.  So right now I'm looking forward to at least 3-4 half marathons in the fall.

In the meantime, I've been building up my speed and my miles.  I continue on my quest to break 20 minutes in a 5K and came very close to doing it yesterday at a great race called the Revolution Run in Nashua New Hampshire.   Before that, it was at Roseanne's Run for a Cure in Nashua the week before.  Both were really great events and both I came in second female.  Can I complain? Not really - the first race brought me a 20:39 - a PR and considering a lot of the race was over a good deal of trail (which I don't typically run on), I was happy.  Yesterdays time was a 20:07 - oh so close but alas, I have to continue on with my quest for sub-20.  I think yesterdays race hurt more thought because as I rounded the finish, I saw the clock say "19:48" and as I crossed the line it read "19:58" - given there was a starting/finishing mat- I was sure I had made my goal.

When the times were posted, I had a 20:08 gun/20:07 net - a PR, second female and nothing to be upset about but to taste the goal but miss it was disappointing.  Now, I am looking for my next 5K!
One thing I am excited about though is that the Roseanne's run gave me a taste for the trails which I haven't really been that interested in but now I'm looking at things a bit differently.

I think running on the trials is a good opportunity for me to change things up a bit.  Those who know me well know I am a slave to routine and a schedule - I can't help it - I'm your typical Type A personality and I am that way with my running schedule/plan.  While I think it's done me a lot of good - I think it also makes me really prone to burn out and I really don't want to go there.  So I signed up for a trail race at the end of the month called "Run with the Beavers Trail Race" in Rhode Island that a friend of ours Bob Jackman is putting on.  I really wanted to support Bob's race and now I am just intrigued with the trail running.  Plus, it will be a good opportunity to see some of the Tuesday Night Turtles that I don't get to see that often or better yet, have never met.

The next race I have on tap is the Corporate Challenge in Boston next week - yeah - not a favorite and I don't love the logistics or the fact that it's probably going to be packed - but I want to support my company and get to social with my coworkers - many of whom run but usually won't run with me because I'm a bit too competitive :)  After that, I am going to scope out another 5K to continue on my quest for sub-20!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Toronto or no Toronto

It's in my head that I'm going to run the Scotiabank Toronto Marathon on October 14th 2012.  However, I am not signed up yet.  I'm afraid to!  The running is going really well,  I've started integrating some speedwork and haven't had an issues so when should I sign up?  I can't decide.

The last thing I want is to be signed up for a marathon, something goes wrong and all I care about it getting better to run this marathon.  However, we know they all fill up fast now so I'm paranoid to wait for that reason too.  Ok I'm just paranoid.

I'm also now a Tuesday Night Turtle! A great group out of RI that I hope to run with soon and often.  We know a few of the members and they seem like a great group!

So I will hang out on my paranoia train for awhile longer re: Toronto.....

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Full Circle

My running really started with the 2003 Melrose Run for Women.  My husband and I got engaged in the summer of 2002 and due to financial reasons, had to plan our wedding for 2004.  In the winter of 2003, I looked at myself and said I really want to get in shape for my wedding.  I was never really overweight but I wasn't in that good of shape either.  I danced for 9 years, played baseball, pop warner cheerleader but never thought of myself as an athlete.  Further, through the college years came drinking, smoking *cringe* and poor eating habits.  In 2003, I was going to the gym but not really sure I wasn't making any sort of headway.

In the winter of 2003 going to the gym, I told Jay I wanted to get rid of this chub on my hips.  He said "Why don't  you start running?".  I thought he was ridiculous.  I hated running, I was not a runner and was never going to be a runner.  However, it was worth a shot because I really hated this hip chub. :)  I started running as much as I could on the treadmill- a little here and there but I wasn't really convinced it was something that I'd stick with.

One night I walked into the locker room at the gym and there was a paper flyer for the Melrose Run for Women.  This was about February and the race was in May.  I picked it up and signed up to keep myself committed.  Well I ran the race that year and for the years to follow with the exception of 2008 (I was training for the San Diego Marathon and had a 20 miler the day before - in retrospect I should have just run it but lesson learned) and last year, 2011 when I was very injured.  I recalled today how a year ago I was freshly dealing with my tibial stress syndrome and I couldn't run for 1 minute - nevermind this 3.5 miler.

Well I've run a lot of races since 2003 and have gotten very competitive.  I had a good long stint of healthy running and then have documented in this blog how starting really in April 2011, trouble with injury.   I just spent from February 2012 to April 2012 in physical therapy trying to recover my tibial stress syndrome issues that never really resolved from last year.   Joyfully, within the last two weeks, I must have tweaked something in my butt - yes a pain in the a$$ which evolved into a very painful ache while running.  Within the last week or so, I was really starting to be just depressed.  Maybe I'm never really going to be able to be the runner I want to be I thought to myself and well, I started to belief it.

Yesterday, one day before race day - I usually don't drink.  Well, I just wasn't that into this years Melrose Run for Women - I had planned to run it just to be with my friend but knew I wasn't going to do anything.  You see, I really wanted to win this race at some point - it would really just be so wonderful to win the race that really lured me into the world of running but as of yesterday, this wasn't going to be the year.  Further, while finishing PT, my PT girl said to me "You can run the MRW but you're not going to win it this year".  Okey dokey.

This morning I dragged myself to the start.  Jay looked at my face and asked me what was wrong - "I'm just not that into today".  I drank coffee.  I NEVER drink coffee because it upsets my stomach so much and usually I plan on running so hard that would just push me over the edge (the bathroom edge).  So I drank my coffee.  Well I got plenty sick before the start.  I met up with my friend Sue and my friend Linda - both wished me luck, Jay wished me luck but well.  I didn't expect anything at all.

I went to the start and my heart started pounding like it always does - I guess it's just the electricity of the start.  I ran off from the start for a few minutes just to get my legs warm so I wasn't going zero to fast but nothing too long.  I came back and they walked us to the starting line.  My friend Linda yelled "where is my girl - I know what's going to happen after the gun goes off" - Not really - again, I had no goals - I didn't I had anything in me.  There were even two girls ahead of me who asked if I wanted to go in front of them and I said "Nah, that's ok".  As we lined up, I noticed a masters women who I was familiar with - I mean really familiar with.  She took the Thanks4giving 10K female win away from me in 2010 and it really burned me.  I just looked at how jazzed she was and once again she'd beat me out.

The race starts and we're off.  To my surprise I was behind the police escort along with this master's women "T" and two other women - another master and another girl a bit younger than me with headphones (as a side, as a former headphone wearer - I get it but trained myself off of them and man, do I wish other people would too - they are unsafe and you really have no idea what's going on around you - ok- I'm done).  Even where I was, I thought in my head "there is no way I'm staying here".

The course is not an easy one.  Lots of rolling hills- so big up hills, a big screaming downhill and lots of broken street in between.  We went up the first hill and I think at that point, we lost to the other women so it was "T" leading and me.  I was close to her but not too close.  Again, I kept thinking - there is no way I'm holding this.  I was kind of dying.  I felt like I was going to puke, breathing hard, feeling low on fuel - but I kept going.

Between Mile 1-2 there is another small up hill and then a straight away - I stayed close to "T" and kept thinking - again she is going to beat me, but man, I'm in second - that's great - I was happy.  Between Mile 2-3 there is a SCREAMING downhill and I thought I'd gain on her but she kept it going faster down that downhill - I'm always cautious on the downhills always feeling like I'm going to fall and do a somersault over and over.  There were several times where I was REALLY close behind her but I refused to pass her.  If I passed her and she passed me, it was diminish my confidence and any chance I might have of winning would definitely be gone.

Jay was at Mile 3 and I could see him from the distance and I could see via his body language that he looked, that it was me and just started laughing when it was me that was rivaling for 1st and WHO I was rivaling.  We rounded the corner for the final stretch and there is one last uphill, a straightaway and you come into the finish.  It was on this uphill that I passed "T" and I was in first place.  I couldn't believe it.  I couldn't believe I had a chance at winning this race - as I made it through the last .5 mile my friend Linda came out into my view and was screaming at the top of her lungs "GINA!!!!!!" - I finished.  I won.  Wow.   The race that sucked me into the world of running, that lead me to 8 marathons and countless races, I had won and my goal had been complete.  I couldn't be happier.  My hope and inspiration has been revived and I am thankful.

The best part is that my body feels great and I've gotten the shot in the arm I needed to get me psyched for the 2012 season.  Thanks to all of those that I run with (and that I don't run with) that have supported me through injuries and will continue to listen to me through the 2012 training season!

Place No.  Name                Div/Tot  Div   Ag City               St Nettime Guntime Pace  
===== ==== =================== ======== ===== == ================== == ======= ======= ===== 
    1  307 Gina Newton           1/190  F3039 34 North Chelmsford   MA   21:57   21:58  6:17 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Sneakers and more miles

This week was as close to normal as I've been for months.  I went to spring track with my GTD friends Tuesday night, got up at 4:10 am to meet Hank for our 4:30 am jaunt on Thursday am,  long run with Hank, Annie and Dave bright and early Saturday am for 10 miles and today, for the first time, I race two days in a row.  I enjoyed a nice 5 miler with some speed tucked in at the end on a really beautiful Sunday morning - my favorite.

This week was a turning point in the sneaker department.  I've been wearing the Asics 21XX series for years.  They are what I started in and although I tested other brands/models in the past, I always came back to these - they just felt right.  I also have some Lycos inserts I use with them.  When I landed myself in PT back at the end of February, one of the first things my PT girl said was - you might want to think about a different type of sneakers.  This made me cringe.

I HAD tried other sneakers and I was afraid going into something new would just result in some other new injury but it started to make me think.  She felt I had two much support with both the stability and the inserts but that's all I ever knew.  It is also the opposite of what my chiropractor was telling me.  Question is - who do you listen to?

Well I decided I don't just listen to one person but take all of the data/feedback I get from everyone and make my own decisions based on how I feel.  The plan was to reevaluate the sneakers after NYC Half and Doyle's 5 miler.

So come this week, my last PT visit arrived (YAY!) and we analyzed how I run.  Well I kind of felt like a disaster as she critiqued my form and showed me that although I classic overpronater, the 2160s were just pushing me over the edge and also, my body may just be too used to them resulting in other problems.

I took myself to Runner's Alley in Nashua ( and called ahead to make sure someone would be there to assist me and really analyze what's happening when I'm running.  I spoke to and met with BJ and Renee who were both awesome.  Surprisingly the first pair of sneakers they brought out to me were Asics Nimbus model.  I just figured I'd jump to a completely different brand but in the end after trying out some Asics, Brooks and New Balance - I felt best in the Asics and that's what I brought.  After 5 miles in them today, I think I made the right choice so the goal will be to transition - maybe completely to the Nimbus and keep the 2160s for the long runs for additional stability for those longer days.  All feels good now though and that couldn't make me happier.

Weekly Mileage: 28 miles (hoping to go up from here!)
Speed: 3 out of 4 days with speed worked in

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Doyle's 5 miler

Today was a great day at Doyle's 5 miler.  I hadn't done this race since 2005 and only once before that in 2004.  Jay and I always talk about our early running/racing days when, well, we had no racing friends.  We'd finish a race, grab a beer - ask each other how how the race went - finish the beer and then go home - not all that exciting.

Today as a big change from that.   We met up with our good friends, their family and some other runners from RI that we don't get to see very often.  Although the weather wasn't the best, it turned into a day long affair and it was a really good time.

Today was an important day in my road back as well.  A lot of the latter weeks of my physical therapy were built around this race and running it.  After getting through this, I'm pretty much free to register for more races and move on with my running life.  The goal was to run a 7:05 pace for the 5 miles.  True to Gina form, I did not run a 7:05 pace but a 6:45 pace.  I felt great.  I finished with an overall time of 33:47 which is far better than I thought I could do.  Things are looking up!  I'm even running enough to start tracking my miles now.  I am still only allowed to run every other day of the week but I'll take it with a few good races in between.

Total miles run this week: 4 days of running = 26.5 miles of running
Speed: 3 out of the 4 days had some speedy speed!