Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Yoga Bliss

Last night I attended Beth's Hatha yoga class. It was delicious. One thing she talked about was observing how you feel instead of trying to figure out how you should feel. It reminded me of this article about mental training for a marathon. From the article:

Association refers to running where your mind is focused on the body and you are intentionally concentrating on physical sensations.

Dis-association refers to running where your mind is focused either on external stimuli or internal distractions.

Yoga is definitely the former, and association is the practice I've found most effective lately in my long runs. Being in the moment, and enjoying the run. Noticing the physical sensations, just taking stock of any discomfort or changes in my breathing and observing how that feels. Writing this, I realize that I really enjoy running!

(DLang reminds me sometimes that one of the first things I told him after we met was that I hate running!)

Monday, September 25, 2006


At the party on Saturday night, K-Dog The Boy told his girlfriend, "Gillian & I ran an average of 10 miles each today."


Run Jimmy Run!

For parallel and very funny commentary of this season's Team in Training marathon training extravaganza, check out my teammate Jim's blog. He and his lovely wife Aurora are both training for the NYC Marathon in November.

While you're there, donate!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Another 3.4!

I felt surprisingly good (energetic and not too ouchy) this afternoon so I decided to do a loop around the park. It was a pretty humid day, and I felt a little sore when I started running, but completed the 3.4 miles without a hitch.

(Oh, except that near the end of my run, a teeny bug flew in my eye and died there, and I couldn't get it out until I got home and could look in the mirror. Yuck.)

I read somewhere that the frequent short runs are just as important as the weekly long training runs, and that the two serve different purposes - but I don't think the article said what those purposes were. I thought about that as I was running today, and have a theory. Yesterday, the hardest miles were the first 3 and the last 2. The first 3 just suck because I'm thinking, "Running sucks. I can't believe I've only run [<3] miles. This sucks. I have so many miles to go," etc. The last 2 are hard because, "I want to be done, and running faster would make me run faster, but my legs just won't go any faster, and where the hell is that last mile marker?!" (I've confirmed that my fellow runners have similar thoughts.) My theory, therefore, is that the short runs give you both the start and the finish, and the confidence to do both - so it's really training for mental stamina.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

More about this morning's run

Nutrition Notes:

- Breakfast: Banana Nut Bread Clif Bar, a baby banana, coffee
- En route nutrition: 2x Chocolate Outrage Gu, Gatorade Endurance Formula (that's what'll be on the course in SF, so I'm trying to train with it)

Stuff I thought about to get me through the last 2 miles:
- My friend Andrew yelling at me to stop whining
- Bagels!
- Pamie's recap of her first marathon
- This blog, and my post about the run (20 miles, in case you've forgotten!)
- Leading with my heart (it sounds silly, but thinking about this made me feel stronger and I'm sure improved my posture!)
- The awesomeness of calling my friends on the way home (K-Dog The Girl definitely wins for most enthusiastic response - we trained together for the triathlon in 2004)
- My friend and 3-time Ironman Triathlete(!) Meredith who is just completely inspiring
- The cause, and all of you who've invested in my fundraising and training. Thanks, again, and I promise to make you proud on Oct. 22!

I was planning to run 18 miles...

But instead, I ran 20!

Yes, really.

Look how happy I am after running 20 miles! Doesn't this make you want to run 20 miles?

We met this morning at Coach Lisa's in Bay Ridge. Lisa was already in Prospect Park to send off a group of next season's TNTers on their training run, so her husband Clark let us in and was quite a gracious host! By the time the whole group (there were about 20 of us) had gathered in Lisa's living room, she was back from PP, and gave us instructions for the morning's run.

I headed out with two runningmates, Rebecca and Lesley. They were superfun to run with, and we were cracking each other up within 3 miles. We picked up another girl along the way who's training for the NYC Marathon by herself, and I think she was glad to have the company for the run.

We ran down the Brooklyn greenway, under the beautiful Verrazano Bridge, to Coney Island, where I learned that Rebecca & Lesley were planning to do 20 miles. I felt pretty good, and it didn't take much convincing at that point to get me to add on the extra 2 miles.

The weather was awesome for running - it rained on the way out, but was nice and cool and overcast on the way back. When we made it back to Lisa's (20 miles later - did I mention that?), Clark had purveyed bagels and all the fixin's for us hardcore marathoners. Thanks, Clark!

I feel surprisingly energetic now, which is good since I cleverly volunteered to bake delicious cupcakes for an engagement party we're going to tonight. On to buttercream!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Handstand Class #2

Wednesday night I had a really bad sleep, and I was exhausted all day yesterday. All I wanted to do was go home and sleep, but it was Thursday night, so I donned my yoga pants and tank and found my way to 524 Bergen St. for my 2nd handstand class.

I'm so glad I did.

There were fewer people this week, which made the group a little more intimate. We started out by standing in a circle. One person would make a noise and a motion to another person in the circle, then that person would make a different noise/motion to a third person, and so on. It was really fun, and surprisingly, even a little intimidating! It was a good reminder that as an adult I'm more self-conscious and less spontaneous with my body, and I don't always have to be.

After some abdominal work, we moved on to assisted handstands, held for 40 seconds each. We also did a series of exercises that involved kicking up in various ways - scissor kicks, and tuck-ups, for example. Then we did wheelbarrows - you know, the ones you did when you were a kid, where you walk on your hands with a partner holding your legs? We did them with obstacles - mats stacked higher that you had to "step" up and across along the way. That was harder than I thought it would be - in fact, I sucked at it. However, when I finished, everyone applauded! It was like the Handstand Special Olympics.

The class was, again, amazing. I was sweating within 10 minutes and I felt completely energized afterwards. Walking home, I laughed out loud when I realized that I'm 32 years old and I just finished my 2nd-ever gymnastics class!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

More lunchtime running

Yesterday I ran another 5k across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a beautiful day, and I'm learning to be zen with dodging tourists. It's kind of like a video game!

Tonight I have my 2nd handstand class. Yay!

Saturday's run looks awesome - we're meeting at Coach Lisa's apartment in Bay Ridge and running along the greenway to Coney Island. I'm going to run a minimum of 18 miles, and maybe 20 if I feel good. Running on the boardwalk at Coney is superfun - I can't wait!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Upside Down!

Finally, a report from my first handstands class.

In summary, it was awesome.

There are about 15 people in the class, mostly women. We started with a warmup that involved moving around the room and getting to know the space. Shortly after that, we were upside down! Seriously, we were doing handstands (against a wall) within about 15 minutes of the class starting. After that, we worked in groups of 3 to kick up into an assisted handstand. I pretty much sucked at that but the two women I was working with were really great at assisting me. Later, we did some abdominal work (Pilates-type stuff) and then, yes, more handstands. We practiced jumping, and different types of kicking up into a handstand. We did shoulder strengthening and stretches as well.

I hugely loved the class. It's amazing to have a group of adults together for 90 minutes, just playing! I can't wait for this Thursday.

In other news, my aspirations to run in Toronto this past weekend were thwarted by a really great wedding on Saturday night (congratulations Jim & Julie!). Back in the swing this week as I increase mileage and start the countdown to M-Day!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Flat and Fast

After a very long day at work (that Will. Not. End. - ugh), DLang and I went for a jog up and down (and up and down) Prospect Park West. I have extra energy lately and need to challenge myself more physically - I can't wait to start the handstand class tomorrow night!


Yesterday, my friend Giselle told me about a place in Brooklyn called Lava Love that offers classes in acrobatics. They have a class called Handstands for Adults, a 10-week, 90-minutes/week course on how to do a handstand! I signed up immediately; classes start tomorrow night.

If it goes well, I plan to take their tumbling class to learn how to do a cartwheel!

(Also, and not exactly marathon-related, my new favourite Web site is 43Things. It makes setting goals really fun, and I've already met someone else who wants to make croissants from scratch!)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Lunchtime 5k

Just back from a lunchtime run across the Brooklyn Bridge and around City Hall Park - the same route we ran last Wednesday evening.

It's a beautiful day here in NY - I'm hoping for this kind of weather (sunny, mid-60s) for the marathon.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Some Like It Hot

I, however, do not.

This morning we met in Prospect Park at 8am. I'd been calculating how many times I'd have to run around the 3.4 mile loop of the park to get enough mileage, and was very grateful when Coach Vanessa announced that we'd be takin' it to the streets instead. We ran the same Brooklyn Bridge route that we'd done a few weeks ago. Last time, I turned around at 14th St. in Manhattan for a total of 14 miles. This time I kept going up to 34th St. for a total of 16 miles. I felt pretty good until maybe the last mile, at which point the heat was kind of getting to me. I'm glad I'm running my first marathon in San Francisco in October!

Food: 1/2 a Clif bar (pre-run), Espresso Love Gu (how I love thee, Espresso Love) 1 hour in, Vanilla Bean Gu (not so much) 2 hours in.

Post-run: the remainder of the Clif bar, a fruit smoothie, one scrambled egg.

Much to my chagrin, I've gained about 6 pounds since I started training (totally my own food-loving fault). I'm trying to get that off now, because it turns out that running is a lot more fun when you weigh less.

Mmm... Yoga

Last night DLang and I went to a yoga class together. Turned out we were the only ones there, so we were delighted to have a private session with yoga instructor Beth. 90 minutes of sun salutations and delicious stretching and centering prepared me for an excellent sleep. I'm off to embark on my longest run yet this morning!

Speaking of yoga, I've decided to offer classes as part of my fundraising efforts. This blurb will be included in next week's TNT fundraising email:

Gillian is a newly-minted Prana Yoga teacher and is offering yoga classes as part of her TNT fundraising efforts for the Nike Marathon.

Classes will be at a beginner level, and will focus specifically on recovery postures for runners, as well as relaxation and breathing. This is the perfect cross-training or off-day activity, and is a great way to augment your post-run stretching!

Cost: $25 for a private one-hour session, $40 for a semi-private (2 people) one-hour session. All proceeds to TNT.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Runner and Race Director

Last night I ran in the 2nd Annual WGen Back-to-School 5k Brooklyn Fun Run, which I also organized! Last year we had the run on a Saturday morning, and it was a loop of Prospect Park. There were about half a dozen participants, including a couple of significant others.

This year, because of our fabulous new office location in DUMBO, we opted for a 5k run across the Brooklyn Bridge (aside: I *so* love that USATF Google Maps site!).

Several co-workers and I donned sneakers and our very patriotic orange and blue t-shirts and shorts and headed across the bridge. It was a beautiful evening, and everyone made it back for post-race carbs (in the form of beer) at Water Street Restaurant.

Props to all the Genners who represented our athletic side last night: John, Doug, Leslie, Jacklyn, Paul, Kate, Max, Joe, Giselle, Jillian, and Crystal.

Despite the overall fabulousness of our new office, it doesn't have a gym (er, The Gym) in the building, so I've been much lazier about activity during the day. Doing the run across the bridge last night gave me the idea that I could pretty easily do that on my lunch break, especially since the fabulousness of this office includes 2 showers.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Running in Wisconsin

I'm in Wisconsin for the weekend and spent a fabulous day yesterday at Candace's parents' cabin on the Mississippi (yes, DLang, it does go up this far). A day of eating and boating and more eating tired us all out, and I was asleep by 10:30.

After an excellent night's sleep, I was ready for a run this morning. I'd mapped out a 16 mile route with an option to call it quits after about 9 miles. The morning was perfect for running, and I managed not to get lost running on county roads past farms. It was a lot different running here than in NYC! More roadkill for sure. The neighbourhood is quite hilly, which was a good challenge for me. The weather was a little cool - perfect for running - and there was hardly any traffic.

I decided to do the 9 mile route, and felt really good the whole time. Running downhill actually proved more difficult than the uphills, which felt pretty good.

At the recommendation of my friend Leslie who has completed 2 marathons, I want to get in at least 3 18+ mile runs in before the marathon. With that in mind, I'm starting to map out my distances for the next 6 weeks:

Sept 9: 16 miles
Sept 16: probably less, because I'll be in Toronto for a wedding
Sept 23: 18 miles
Sept 30: 18-20 miles
Oct 7: 20 miles
Oct 15: Oktoberfest 10k (tapering week)

And before I forget, it's my husband's birthday! Happy Birthday DLang! Thanks for being the best cheerleader a girl could ask for.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Fundraising Update

You guys rock!

My original fundraising goal was $4,000. Thanks to you, my massively generous friends and co-workers, I reached that goal by sending out only one email. I know some of you have been touched by a blood cancer, and some of you are supporting my continued insanity. Either way, thanks. You're doing something special for a great organization.

My new fundraising goal is $5,000, and I'm confident that I can reach it by the time I can run 26.2 miles.