Saturday, February 19, 2011

This is my blog, and these are my guns...

….this one’s for fighting, this one’s for…never mind.

Well, time to check back in. P90 has been amazing. I am not following the recommended routine, but I’m squeezing in a core/upper body/ abs workout whenever I have time and/or after feeling sufficiently recovered from previous workouts. I’m actually excited when my alarm goes off and I head down to the basement in my fuzzy purple slippers to face off the once dreaded pull-up bar.

What sort of face are you supposed to make when you're flexing in front of a camera?? 
I believe I’m currently in the best shape of my life (save the 13 weeks I spent in USMC Boot Camp…I’ve since switched out my drill instructors for a loving husband and 2 drooling 4-legged children). My weight isn’t as low as I had hoped, though I’ve still managed to lose 8 lbs and continue to increase my strength. 

I can honestly say there is a huge improvement in my running thanks to all of this core work, and I’m hoping it pays off big in 2 weeks. My form is solid and I’m finding my paces are dropping with minimal effort. Track workouts have been so rewarding that I actually willingly ran a 5k today.  I couldn’t remember the last time I ran a 5k, or what my “PR” was, so Athlinks served me well yet again. According to Athlinks, I ran a 21:31 in 2009 (I remember it was a horribly hot day) and a 20:52 in 2007. I knew that I was faster than that, so I was excited to see what I could do.

I woke up to the sound of a hurricane outside of my bedroom window this morning. Am I back in Flordia? No. is it even hurricane season? No. What day is it?  A quick cup of coffee and the weather report concluded that the winds were at a steady 30mph tempo with gusts over 50mph. Bwaaaaaaaa!!!!!  So much for a stellar race…

I dragged my wonderful neighbor, Eliza, out of bed at 5am so we could head to Haines Point in DC, find parking, pick up our bibs, and get in a short warm-up. The By George 5k is a small, cheap race (can I get a “hells yeah!”?) and it showed. There were a good 50 people standing around aimlessly with no clue where the registration table was, so after a bit of investigative walking we found the table blocked from view behind some trees. The volunteers didn’t seem to care if we found them or not. Hey, I’ll take it for a $15 race.

As we stood around waiting for the start of the race and trying desperately not to get blown over when the gusts came through, I somehow got settled in behind the 3 people at the front of the line who would NOT go out fast. Oh no, quite the opposite I figured if they’re toeing the line, they have good reason to be. Someone yelled “go!” and we started running. I instantly got boxed in behind these 3 dudes and muttered out of frustration as I tried to get around them. Finally free, I set off on a particularly fast pace during a short tail-wind stretch. One girl in front of me, one at my shoulder. Hmmmm.

The course was a horse-shoe shaped out and back, which meant we’d be running tail wind/head wind/tail wind/head wind. I took advantage of the tail wind and came through the first mile at 5:52.
 A little fast, not too bad. As if on cue, we changed directions and my pace instantly dropped. Holy freaking crap!!! Who’s pulling on my singlet? Someone’s dragging me backwards!!! Nope. Just the wind.  2nd mile: 6:13.

Here I realized the disadvantage of a horse-shoe shaped course. The course is measured along the inside curve running out, which means you’re running on the outside curve on the way back. Those distances are not the same, as it’s the difference of running on the inside lane of the track v. the outside lane (there’s a reason the lanes are staggered…).  I never swear by the distance of a garmin, but it’s logical math….1.55 miles out on the inside of the curve is not the same as running on the outside. Anyways. They did not move the finish line up to compensate for the added distance.

Mile 3, starting to feel the burn. Lungs are working hard, slight taste of blood in the back of my throat. Some people get vomit-y , I get bloody? 1st place chick is just up ahead, but she hardly even looks like she’s working hard. B!tch. Just kidding. No really… I look at my watch and realize I can break 19 if I keep my pace. Just then, the wind decides to come in full force, head first. Well, at least no one’s passing me. Finish line? No, that’s the 10k turnaround. There. Last 1.10, 6:15 pace.

Unofficial time: 19:10, 2nd female.  I really wanted to break 19, but that freakin wind was a killjoy.

Where does this leave me? After talking to some of the other runners who finished around me, they all agreed they normally run anywhere from 30-45seconds faster in a 5k. What kind of people run multiple 5ks? Huh. So maybe I would’ve been well under 19 if the day had been more ideal…it was a flat course, so no complaints there. Just mother nature playing her tricks on runners, as usual. I’m ecstatic with my performance, as I felt strong the entire race and didn’t want to kill anyone or anything afterwards.

After cooling down for a bit I went to collect my prize…a cherry pie. I approached the race director (whom I’ve encountered on multiple occasions and have since decided he’s certifiably nuts) and told him I was the 2nd female. The conversation that ensued was par for the course:

Me: I was the 2nd female, can I have my pie please?
Him: Congratulations! You must be Amy Lane.
Me: Yessir
Him: (in a very serious voice) Are you Penny Lane’s sister?
Me: No…
Him: Well, great job Penny!
Me: My name is Amy
Him: (grabs the microphone) Everyone, can I have your attention please…Penny Lane was our 2nd female, please congratulate her on her impressive time.
Me: My name is Amy
Him: Here’s your pie, thanks Penny!
Me: You're welcome.

I’m now excited to be in full taper-mode with Napa a mere 2 weeks away. Even though my time was not what I had expected, it showed that I’m a much stronger runner than when I ran a 3:12 in Boston last year. Time for some serious PR’s in 2011.


  1. Super super exciting! Nothing like having your hard work pay off. Wish to hell you didn't have that wind today, would have been really swell to race unimpeded, but with all that, there's no doubt you're going to have a crazy excellent year ahead. Go, Amy go!!

  2. OMG, your name is now Penny! :) That is an insane time, way to rock it out that wind was freaking crazy!!! :)

  3. I like the sound of "some serious PR's in 2011". Great race despite the awful wind conditions. Of all the the things that slow us down, wind has to be the most insidious, since it's uncontrollable, unpredictable and un-conquerable.

    Looking forward to your 2011 results almost as much as my own.

  4. Awesome! You look great and massive props to going out in that today. My little Civic was getting tossed around; I can't imagine what it was like to run.

  5. Well done Amy! Yes, it's hard to believe that people run multiple 5Ks and yes, that RD does sound nuts, but hey, pie!

  6. Again, PHENOMENAL. I'm curious -- do you give the credit for this breakthrough to the P90X, as opposed to the huge base from ultras? How much do you think the ultras helped?

  7. Nice job Amy! Congrats on all the hard work to get in the best shape ever.

    Penny Lane? I never even thought of that. I always think of "Lane, just like street." LOL

  8. Update on the pie: Apollo apparently needed a carb-replenishment meal after our walk yesterday. The pie is no more.

    Darkwave- That's a great question, let's see if I can answer it...
    I've always been a high-mileage runner, and rarely incorporate "quality" sessions in to my marathon training. My endurance base has always been above average (just seem to be one of those "able to run long" runners), but I'm certain the past year of running ultras boosted that endurance base.

    Because of said base, I believe it allowed me to get away with lower mileage than what I would normally run without any setbacks. I was able to run less and run faster, which was very unusual for my body. I also never did core work--ever-- and I can honestly feel the difference in my form. I have "Rocky" moments when I want to run uphill shadow boxing the entire way ;)

    The combination of core work and speed is probably the main reason I've been able to trim down, and I think that is the perfect package for me to start a new level of running. I do not think I would be in as good of shape right now if I hadn't been doing the P90, and instead did high mileage + speed.

  9. Incredible! You look amazing and that is a fantastic time, especially given the wind! We need to do an eggspectation brunch soon!

  10. Good job, Penny! I'm envious - I've been doing core work since Christmas, and sort-of-dieting for the last two weeks, and I have not lost any weight and I'm no faster.

  11. Super job on the 5K! Have a great race in Napa. Here's my fave restaurant in wine country-

  12. Wow, you look amazing! I'm a new reader (Dash referred me), but I have to ask: Did you change your diet? How so? I'm exactly where you started, and I'd like to be exactly where you are now. I've been working on lifting and interval workouts at the gym, and I'm seeing some really good results, but not quite as dramatic as yours. Could you go into more detail about how you did it? Thanks!

  13. Um, ditto to what Lizardruns said! We are in awe of your muscletone and amazing speed! Nice job the other day at By George!

  14. Hi gals, thanks for stopping by. That gosh darn Dash ;-)
    Diet was huge, especially at the beginning. I ate literally every 2 hours that I was awake, and a very strict ratio of 25g of protein + 20-25g of carbs every meal. I didn't snack at all in between, which I thought would be difficult. I used to eat fruits, veggies, know, generally healthy stuff. I think sticking to the heavy protein meal plan made me tone up pretty quick.
    I was surprised how "full" I felt all day, considering I used to think I was starving an hour or two after lunch or dinner.
    Even though I ate well before, I clearly needed a good shake-up for my metabolism.