Friday, March 26, 2010


I cant tell you how happy I am that it is FRIDAY!!! I am exhausted-both physically and mentally! I'm so looking forward to doing NOTHING this weekend but hanging at my house with my furbabies and resting (well, of course I'll get some running in too!). My son arrives back from his spring break on Saturday-so I think a family dinner with friends is in order!!

I did run this morning-sluggish slow run, but Velcro and I got out there and pounded the pavements in the sun! Better than nothing, I guess! Maybe I can find a race around here this weekend-anyone know of anything, preferably Sunday!! Because I'll be working late tonight-we start at 11:30 today!

Here are my exercise stats for this week:

Tuesday: RUN 1.82 miles with Velcro
Wednesday: WALK 1.56 miles with Velcro
Friday: RUN 3.11 miles with Velcro

Monday, March 22, 2010

NYC Part Deux...... which includes the NYC Half Marathon!

2:42:01 nothing stellar in that number....not what I had wanted but it seems I always want something that I cant attain! I think if I just forget about that stupid f-ing sub 2:30 that I've run before many many moons ago, maybe I wont fall into post race funks while reading about everyone else who runs way faster than me! Sorry, I'm in a bit of a funk-can you tell? I don't know why. I had a fantastic weekend, finally met some fantastic blogger/twitter friends and left LA, which I so needed to do.

My last post ended with a fantastic blogger tweetup dinner! I didn't get to sleep until about 12:30am on friday night and slept in until about 9am. Hey, I was still on Pacific time (well that's what i told myself). I was going to be heading down to the expo with my cousin and then was going to attempt to find this "shirt" an Anne Fontaine shirt that my aunt was wearing the day before. I had my morning oatmeal and loads of tea, saw my uncle who had just landed from a business trip in South Africa and shoved on clothes for the 70 degree temps that NYC was experiencing-WTF!!!! I did not fly here from LA to run or wander around in 70 degree temps and sun! Hell to the NO!

I got off the subway at 18th street and bam was at my cousins building-how cool is that!! The expo was one block up and a block east! Perfect! This would be her first expo. I wish it had been bigger-it was TINY!! And there wasn't much there-I was kinda bummed about that! But I was able to buy a long-sleeved tech shirt and got my number and my short-sleeved tech shirt, which was lovely! But I so wanted it to be a BIG expo....I guess I'll have to wait for the NYC Marathon expo! So needless to say, we didnt stay long, and soon left on the great hunt for food and the Anne Fontaine store in SoHo via a farmers market in a square-of course can I remember which square, NO-FAIL! But I did buy some jams which I brought back to LA-yummy!

We continued to walk and walk. What was I thinking walking all over lower Manhattan before running a race-oh wait I don't RUN the races, I plod it's ok. After cruising thru NYU, we finally made it to the Anne Fontaine store. My aunt had said the shirts weren't cheap-that usually means they are over $200. I was thinking $250-and I hit it right on the head! The shirt that my aunt had on, well it was a prior years model, was $250. YIKES! But's the "shirt" I've been looking for for years! The sales lady pulled 2 shirts out that were my size, well, they were supposed to be a big girl size! The one shirt didn't fit-yeah, I had two different sized shirts in the dressing room. My chunky fat girl body was not fitting into the French shirt! Then I tried on the shirt I wanted, well, the size was a high number. I put the shirt on-yeah I'm fat! I either have to stop drinking, stop eating or tear my thyroid out of my body and get a new one! I was so depressed! made me want to go drink a beer! But I couldn't!!! The shirt didn't look awful-but it had this "french collar" that made me look like a bug with a little head-AWFUL! Why would you make an expensive shirt with such a god-awful collar! Besides the fact that I felt like a cow exploding out of a shirt! Thank goodness I couldn't buy this shirt!

Off we went, $250 richer, to find food! My cousin really wanted to eat outside-don't know why??? It's just sun, that's all! We settled on a place in SoHo that had a wonderful cauliflower sandwich. I know it sounds hideous-but it was fantastic. I actually just bought some cauliflower so I can attempt to make it!

It was about 3pm at this point and I was tired and my feet were hurting a bit-not good. So we called it a day and headed back to our respective homes. Our family dinner was set for 6pm saturday night so that i could get a decent nights sleep-ha! I got back to the apt just in time to watch my beloved Tennessee Vols play their game! YEAH they won!! OMG, it's dinner time already? How is that possible.....

It was a great dinner. My Aunt and Uncle, and my two cousins! We don't get they chance to get together much-so this race enabled a small family gathering! Love that! my cousins left around 10pm, and I was in bed around 11pm-but in true race form-couldn't sleep! I finally fell asleep around 12:30 and was woken up at 3am by screaming and sirens. WOW, I forgot how LOUD NYC is! I jumped on twitter at 3am, the west coasters were still up (pre LA Marathon jitters) and finally tried to go back to sleep at 3:30. I had 2 more hours of sleep I so wanted!!

The alarm went off at 5:30am, yikes 2:30am my time! That sucks! Oh well. I made my tea, took a shower and put my clothes on. I was not checking a bag-my aunt and cousin were coming to the finish so they were going to be bringing my warm toasty clothes. I did put on my long sleeved REI Tech shirt-but honestly didnt want to run in it-it was going to be a warm one!

The start of the Half was in the northern part of Central Park. Because of my high bib number, I was supposed to enter at 5th Av and 102nd street-so close to my Aunt and Uncle's place! love that! I left my long sleeved shirt with them-since they lovingly drove me to the start area. When I got out it felt pretty warm but the sun was yet to come up. And there is always that chill before the sunrise. And there was-but I know I had made the right choice! I wandered up into the park to the start area, stopping by the empty porta-potties! Amazing!! No lines!! It was about 6:50am and the race was supposed to start at 7:35am.

I was standing in the area for bib 3's 11,000-11,999 and honestly, really didn't want to go all the way to the back with the rest of the back-of-the-packers. I was near the porta-potties and knew I'd be visiting them again! So i stayed there and seriously went two more times! And then bam, the waves started moving-so I wanted to get going so in i went. There wasn't anyone patrolling the waves. I saw people with higher numbers than mine in the same wave.

It took us about 15 minutes to get to the start. I hit my Garmin at the start and NOTHING! Ugh! I had to turn it off and then on again. At this point I was still running, at least .2 miles, before it started correctly. Well, that was going to suck! Oh well, not much I could do about it now. I knew I was .2 miles off.

This was my very first time running thru Central park. I had no idea that it was hilly! Don't get me wrong, not trail race hilly, but hilly enough to notice! We were running 1 1/2 times around the park and it was beautiful! The one thing I did notice was the HUGE number of dogs in the park-all off leash! Wow! I had no idea this was the dog park! I didn't see one cattle dog though! I was looking!!

between mile 1 and 2 I started hearing the helicopters and then all of a sudden a bunch of cyclists and motorcyclist started coming by yelling for everyone to move over-YELLING! Ok, at this point I nearly fell over a cone-that would have been ugly! But thousands of people were now being pushed over to the side to make way for the elite men. yep, I was being lapped by the world record holder Haile Gebrselassie and another runner! My claim to fame for this race! Lapped by a world record holder! As we continued running toward our mile 2, their mile 8, I saw an elite runner take a spill as he was making the turn out of the park. He went down HARD! That didn't look like it was fun! I so wanted to see the woman, but I didn't! Deena Kastor was running this race-I so wanted to see her run! I was now on the West side of the park, going uphill with a huge number of runners. I was heading to the north end of the park known as the Harlem Hills? and yeah, there were hills. I had thought I might see my family at this point-but i didn't.

We reached the start line again, to start the last portion of the park. I knew the rest was primarily downhill and then it was out onto the streets. I knew the general route but hadn't run any part of it so it was all going to be new. At this point, I felt the necessity to take a video of myself slogging in the sun in Central Park. Oh my, how could I possibly forget to say that THE SUN WAS OUT AND IT WAS WARMING UP! How could this be happening?? The Sun God either hates me or loves me!

Ok, the best part of the race for me was coming out of Central Park onto 7th Avenue.....the entire street was closed off and belonged to the runners! The racers had spread out a bit so it felt like I was running down 7th Avenue into Times Square all by myself (there were other runners). WOW, it was amazing!! I loved it! I snapped tons of pics and was taking it all in! What a feeling running down 7th Avenue! fantastic!

We took a right onto 42nd Street and headed west toward the West Side Hwy. It was sunny and warming up-and I realized there wasn't any place to find shade! I pulled my hat a little lower over my eyes and kept plodding on. Eating my sports beans and my peanut butter and jelly!! Yeah, it was warming up! Ugh!

When we got to the West Side Hwy we took a right heading north, about 2 blocks, and then flipped a u turn and headed south at the USS Intrepid. I took a picture of it for my dad! ok, about 2 miles to go now. And it was all sun and no shade! Can i say how I hate running in the sun and heat! Hate it! I was at 42nd street and I knew, from a text message, that my family was at 18th street! I couldn't wait to see them! I also knew I'd be seeing Jocelyn and Jenna near the finish and was hoping I wouldn't miss Terri and Katie either. In true Penny fashion, I had been sending them text messages-updates-on where I was. I knew I was slow and honestly didnt expect to see anyone but my family! My cousin had promised me a Coors Light when he saw me. I had work my orange so that I could be picked out of the crowd-and it worked! My cousin saw me and my aunt was snapping pictures. When I asked my cousin about my beer he said he didn't have it-FAIL!!!! I so could have downed a beer at this point! I'd have to wait until the finish!

Once I passed them, I knew it wasn't much longer. But it felt like forever. I think there was a slow incline to the finish-and the sun...GO AWAY!! No shade on the West Side Hwy-NONE! Don't get me wrong, I walked during this race-I always do. Is it my mental weakness-probably because I'm not tired but I have no energy! I don't train at all for these races because of my work hours, but I usually feel pretty good when I cross the finish line. It might be because I know I can't be injured or really sore at work! But I tried to push myself to run and run that last mile in the sun-but I'm just not mentally tough enough to do it!

With about 200 metres to go is when I saw Terri and Katie on the right side of the course! OMG, I was so touched!! They were cheering for ME! Katie took awesome pics of me running up to them, looking like some sort of crazy woman! I gave them hugs and continued on. Then on the left side I saw Jocelyn and Jenna! WOW!! They had stayed to see me finish!! I feel so honored! I think I began to tear up at this point! Here I was thousands of miles from home and I had so many friends cheering for me and supporting me! I cant tell you what a fantastic feeling that is!!! I started crying thinking about it! I am the luckiest person in the world to have met all my new friends and to have them cheering for ME!!! Thank you all( Terri, Katie, Jocelyn and Jenna)! I love you to death!!!

I crossed the finish line and saw my aunt and cousin! We set a meeting spot and I continued to collect my medal-because it is all about the medals!! I saw Terri and Katie again and told them where we were meeting! Then i got my medal-it was shaped like the old subway token-COOL! I stopped at the silly photo stand and had my picture taken-biting my medal and then continued on to get water!! I know there were goodie bags being given out-I saw people with them. Had I walked passed them? Stupid Penny! Thats when everyone came rushing up to me-Jenna, Jocelyn, Katie and Terri! Wow, yep, I am lucky!! We had our picture taken by a lovely guy and then Katie left us! The rest of us went to the corner where I was meeting my family and i introduced them to my Aunt and cousin! This was when my Aunt decided to head back uptown and we were heading to Heartland Brewery for a free beer for me and lunch!!

Heartland brewery was at the South Street Seaport. We walked and I actually lost my sense of direction-which NEVER happens!! As we were nearing BEER, this girl came up to us. It was Michelle aka Miss Joy. how exciting!! Another blogger/twitter runner to meet! We all headed to heartland where the Half Marathon runners were getting a free half pint-that wasn't going to be enough for piggy Penny, so i ordered my free beer and my full pint and food! because I was starving!!

I had a fantastic time at brunch! I met a bunch of new people and got to talk to my new friends! I inhaled my food and beer and was beginning to feel a bit more human! We all stated to move along, but we had Crumbs Cupcakes to eat! My cousin and I had bought them the day before-so they had to be eaten! So we walked over to the South Street Seaport, got another beer (I love beer when it's sunny and warm) and we split the 3 cupcakes into 5 parts! One Half Baked, one Red Velvet and one Raspberry Swirl. Wow, I love cupcakes! Here i was sitting overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge drinking a beer and eating cupcakes with friends! Fantastic!!

I could have stayed there all afternoon, but I had a car picking me up at 4:45 pm for my flight back to LA! Yeah, whirlwind trip to NYC! So I headed back uptown. I needed to shower and finish my packing!

I left New York and headed to Newark. Goodbye NY! I had a great time and I hope I come back soon!!!


RUN: 13.8 miles 2:42.01 yeah, I obviously dont know how to run the tangents. Is it obvious that I run alot of races that are flat!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

NYC Part 1

My Whirlwind trip to NYC for the NYC Half Marathon officially began on Friday morning with a 3 mile run with my beloved Velcro before my 9am flight out of LA on Friday morning. I was lucky to be able to trade in some miles on American...and how I LOVE flying out of LA on American. Do we as an airport, employ the dumbest humans? Because going thru security at LAX and in particular at the American Airlines terminal is one of the more painful airport processes!! After standing in line after line, I finally got thru security! Whew! But I didn't have enough time for my obligatory airport Bloody Mary-well it would have to be purchased on board! Now dont get me wrong, I have flown alot and am not scared of flying, but leaving my furbabies makes me physically sick! Especially the look I get from Velcro! Breaks my heart! At least when I leave my son, which I was also doing, I could talk to him on the phone and hear the typical teenage grunts!

So once I paid my $25 to check my one bag, because in true California tradition, I was flying with 2 bottles of wine, for my $5 flight and passed thru security, I made it to my gate before boarding had started for us mere peons!

The flight was uneventful-a stupid movie, Planet 51 and sleep! I landed in Newark, for the very first time, and got to see my Auntie who had come to pick me up! The drive into Manhattan was speedy! No traffic and lots of sunshine and heat! Seems the God of Sun and Heat had followed me to NYC! Because there is a heatwave!! 70 degrees! WTF!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!! I hate heat and sun! It's supposed to be cool and crisp here not hot and sunny!!!!

Last night was the blogger/tweetup dinner at Acqua! I was finally going to meet some amazing twitter and blogger friends! So exciting! I was meeting Jocelyn , Terri and her brother Jim, Jenna and her boyfriend Tall Boy,"Elyssa" (i think I spelled her name right so aka nycbklyngirl), and the newest member of my Twitter running family, Katie Miller for the very first time! Putting faces and voices to all the words! I had a fantastic time meeting these fantastic people! I have SO MANY friends and I can't tell you how exciting it is to meet you all!!! Last night was GREAT!!! I'm so glad you all were able to come!!! THANK YOU!!!!

Today was expo day! Had to pick up my race number for the race tomorrow. I was really surprised at how small the expo was! I guess compared to the last time I ran in NYC, which was for the Marathon, I was expecting a huge event-but it was very small and intimate! I bought a long sleeved tech shirt to take home with me! My cousin went to the expo with me-and afterwards we wandered around lower Manhattan. We had lunch, shopped, viewed the Tiles for America and walked way too much!!

Now I'm sitting in my Aunts house getting ready for a family dinner!!! It's great fun coming to NY to run-because I get to stay with family!!!

The race starts at 7:30am tomorrow......wish me luck! And keep your fingers crossed that it's overcast and not sunny and 70! Because you all know how much i LOVE running in sun and heat!!!